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Full text of "The settlement of Illinois from 1830 to 1850"

Glass 'bj fe> 



BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

NO. 220 

History Series, Vol. 1, No. 4, pp. 287-595. 



THE SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS FROM 1830 TO 1850 




BY 

WILLIAM VIPOND POOLEY 



A THESIS SUBMITTED FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY 

UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

1905 



Published bi-monthly by authority of law with the approval of the Regents 
of the University and entered as second-class matter at the 
post o$ice at Madison, Wisconsin. 



MA.DISON, WISCONSIN 
May, 1908 






CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER I— Introduction page 

Illinois offers good example of westward movement 307 

Periods of settlement 307 

The third period 307 

Class of pioneers 309 

The forces operating to change the characteristics of the pioneer 

class in northern Illinois 309 

Influence of the prairies 310 

Comparison of northern and southern parts of the state with re- 
gard to class of settlers 310 

Effect of physical characteristics on settlement 311 

Internal improvements due to lack of markets 311 

Prairies not conquered by 1850 312 

Object of this investigation 312 

CHAPTER II— Illinois Before 1830 

1 . Early days in Illinois 313 

Early organization of Illinois 313 

Few settlers in Illinois before 1800 313 

Soldiers of George Rogers Clark 315 

French settlements. 315 

2. The American settlements before 1809 316 

Illinois in 1800 316 

Illinois from 1800 to 1809 316 

3. Illinois territory from 1809 to 1818 317 

Slow settlement before 1815 317 

Unfavorable reports concerning the new country 317 

The Ohio river the great highway of travel 318 

Settlers from the South 318 

Settlements in eastern Illinois 318 

Settlements in southern Illinois 319 

Settlements in western Illinois 319 

Kaskaskia district the most populous 319 

Edwardsville 319 

Kickapoos held central Illinois 320 

Isolated settlements 320 

[3] 



290 CONTENTS 

CHAPTER II— Illinois Before 1830— continued. page 

4. Illinois from 1818 to 1830 320 

Population in 1818 320 

Nativities of the early settlers 320 

The frontier line in 1818 321 

Location of the settlements 321 

A turning point in development of state (1824) 321 

Settlements before 1830 , 322 

Albion 322 

Shawneetown 322 

Towns were frontier villages 323 

Expansion 323 

5 . Sangamon Country 323 

Pioneers use the small prairies, 324 

Still remain cJose to timber 324 

Development after 1824 is rapid. 325 

Towns in the Sangamon country 325 

6. The Military Tract 326 

Earliest settlements 326 

Settlements along the Illinois river 326 

Settlements along the Mississippi 327 

Character of the population 327 

7. The Lead Region 327 

8. Chicago 328 

9. General statement 328 

Location of settlements 328 

The prairies 329 

CHAPTER III — The Causes for the Settlement of Illinois 

1 . Tendency of Americans to migrate 330 

General movement by classes . 330 

2 . General causes for migration 330 

a . The restless spirit 331 

People dissatisfied for various reasons 331 

Land values 331 

Effect of public lands on people in East 331 

Clay's report of 1834 332 

Reports from the West > . 332 

b . The internal improvements 332 

Traffic by steam 333 

c . Financial depression 333 

Speculation 333 

Federation of labor 334 

Strikes 334 

Most notable consequence was emigration to West.. 335 

[4] 



CONTENTS 291 

CHAPTER III — Causes for the Settlement of Illinois— con. page 

3. Local causes 335 

a. New England 335 

New Englander's desire to roam 335 

Not a good agricultural region 335 

Small farms 336 

Sheep industry proves profitable 336 

Value of industry increased by demand , . . 336 

Effect upon the supply of land 337 

Decline in this industry after 1837 337 

Dairying industry 337 

Decrease in agricultural products 338 

Farmers move to Maine and New Hampshire 338 

' Manufactures 338 

Foreign laborers in the factories 339 

b. Middle states 339 

Complaints of hard times 339 

Wages did not increase with cost of living 340 

Conditions equally unfavorable for farmers 340 

Decrease in agricultural population 341 

Reason assigned for decrease 341 

Effect of Erie canal on competition 341 

Decreased cost of transportation 342 

Canal operated against welfare of a portion of 

farming class of New York 342 

Concentration of property 342 

Anti-Rent riots 342 

"Genesee Tariff" 343 

Colony fever 343 

Conditions in Pennsylvania similar to those in New 

York ,. 343 

Land not fertile 344 

Circulars from the West 344 

c. Southern states 344 

Migration into Gulf states 344 

Difficult to determine amount to the North 345 

General depression prevalent in old states of South 345 

Production of staples not always advantageous. . . 345 

Effect of the tariff 346 

Conditions in Southwest very bad 346 

Influence of slavery 347 



[5] 



292 CONTENTS 

CHAPTER III— Causes for the Settlement of Illinois— con. 

3. Local causes— continued page 

d. Northwest Territory 347 

Monetary affairs in Ohio 347 

Internal improvements in Indiana 348 

Varied fertility of soils 348 

Comparative values in Ohio 349 

Like conditions in Indiana 350 

Effect upon the farmers 350 

Circulars and their effect 350 

"Generation" law 350 

4. Causes for settlement of Illinois primarily economic 351 

CHAPTER IV— The Way to the West 

1. General routes to the West 352 

Great Lakes and the Ohio river 352 

Southern road 353 

Lines converging from New England 353 

New York lines 353 

Buffalo the great port of the lower lakes 354 

The lines leading from the Middle Atlantic states 354 

From the neighborhood of Baltimore 355 

The Old National Road 355 

From the southern states 356 

From Kentucky and Tennessee 356 

The line of the Mississippi 356 

From the older states of the Northwest Territory 357 

Objective points 357 

St. Louis 357 

Galena 358 

Galena as a supply point 358 

Chicago 358 

Illinois roads centering at Chicago 359 

2. Travel on the Great Lakes 359 

Cost of transportation 360 

Freight rates 360 

Amount of goods shipped 36L 

Speed of travel 361 

Boats used 361 

3. Travel on the rivers 362 

Early river traffic 362 

Keel-boats 363 

Rafts 363 

[6] 



CONTENTS 293 

CHAPTER [V— The Way to the West— continued 

3. Travel on the rivers— continued page 

The early steamboats 364 

Peculiar construction 364 

Inconveniences of travel in early days 364 

Amount of travel 365 

Deck passengers 366 

Comforts enjoyed by cabin passengers 366 

Unfavorable accounts 36g 

Rules governing conduct of passengers 367 

Gambling 367 

Cost of travel 367 

Prices gradually lowered 368 

Prices after 1840 368 

Cost of transporting goods 368 

Volume of travel 369 

4. Travel along wagon roads 369 

Many came west in wagons 370 

Comments of newspapers 370 

Conveyances used 371 

The Pennsylvania wagons 371 

The New York wagons 371 

Goods of the immigrants 371 

The stock 371 

Howells' description of a trip 372 

General method of making trip 372 

Progress slow 373 

Impossible to estimate cost of travel overland 373 

Taverns 373 

Only general statements can properly be made con- 
cerning the methods by which the settlers came to 

Illinois 374 

CHAPTER V— The Illinois and the Fox River Valleys 

1. The middle Illinois river counties 375 

Mason county 375 

Havana 377 

Location of population 377 

Tazewell county 377 

Tremont 377 

Delavan 378 

The common house in Delavan 378 

m 



294 CONTENTS 

CHAPTER V— The Illinois and the Fox River Valleys— con. 
3. The upper Illinois river counties — continued 

Tazewell county — continued page 

A temperance colony 378 

The Mackinaw colony 378 

Other settlements in Tazewell county 379 

Location of settlements 379 

Woodford county „ . . . . 379 

Settlements were small 380 

Mixed population 380 

Marshall county 380 

Paper towns 381 

Character of the population 381 

Putnam county < . 381 

2. Characterization of settlements of middle Illinois river coun- 

ties 382 

Nativities of settlers 382 

Reason for the equal division of classes 382 

Character of woodland pioneer 383 

Character of prairie pioneer 383 

Increase of population during the period 383 

3. The upper Illinois river counties 383 

Early settlements 383 

La Salle county 383 

Rockwell colony 384 

Grundy county 385 

Will county 386 

Small settlements 386 

Lockport 386 

General advancement of this section during period of 1832 

to 1837 387 

Effect of panic of 1837 387 

Not noticeable at first 387 

Effect upon various towns 387 

Increased prosperity after 1842 388 

Peru, the most important town 388 

La Salle a type of western towns 389 

Joiiet 389 

Nativities of settlers 389 

Influence of lines of communication 390 

Location of settlements , 390 

Chicago's influence on growth of settlement 391 

[8] 



CONTENTS 295 

CHAPTER V — The Illinois and the Fox River Valleys — con. page 

4. The Fox river valley 391 

Early settlements 391 

Years following 1832 prosperous 392 

Kane county 392 

Aurora 392 

St. Charles 392 

Lake county 392 

McHenry county 393 

Period 1837 to 1843 one of slow growth 393 

From 1843 to 1850 growth steady 393 

Elgin becomes a manufacturing town 393 

Waukegan 394 

Nativities of settlers 394 

5. General statement concerning development 394 

Influence of transportation lines 395 

The towns all on lines of communication 395 



CHAPTER VI— The Military Tract 

1. Early settlement in the Military Tract , . . . 397 

Few soldiers took advantage of their grants 397 

Squatters 397 

Peoria 398 

Calhoun county 398 

Pike county 399 

Schuyler county 399 

Fulton county 399 

General location of settlers in the Illinois river counties. . 399 

Adams county . 400 

Hancock county 400 

Location of settlement in the Mississippi river counties... 400 

Interior counties 401 

Military Tract in 1830 402 

2. Calhoun and Pike counties after 1830 402 

3. Illinois river counties from 1830 to 1840 402 

Brown county 402 

Mt. Sterling 403 

Schuyler county 403 

Fulton county 403 

Peoria county 404 



[9] 



296 CONTENTS 

CHAPTER VI— The Military Tract— continued page 

4. Mississippi river counties. (1830—1840) 405 

Adams county 405 

Development of Quincy 405 

Other settlements in Adams county 405 

Hancock county 406 

Henderson county 406 

Mercer county 406 

5. Inland counties of the Tract .• 407 

Early settlements . 407 

Warren county 407 

Knox county and Galesburg 407 

Henry county 408 

Andover settlement ', 409 

Wethersfield colony 409 

New York colony 409 

Geneseo colony 410 

Bureau county 410 

Princeton 411 

Rapid growth after 1836 411 

Providence colony 411 

6. Summary for decade 1831—1840 412 

7. The Illinois river counties from 1841—1850 413 

8. The Mississippi river counties from 1841—1850 414 

Adams county and Quincy 414 

Hancock county 415 

Mormons 415 

Icarians 415 

Henderson and Mercer counties 416 

9. The inland counties from 1841—1850 416 

McDonough, Warren and Stark counties 417 

Henry county 417 

Bureau county 417 

10. Summary for the Military Tract 418 

Increase for the period from 1831 to 1850 418 

Prairies not settled by 1850 418 

Cities in the Tract 418 

Quincy an example of the effect of favorable location 418 

Second class of towns 419 

Third class of towns 419 

Colonies .,»,.. 419 

Nativities of the settlers 419 

[10] 



CONTENTS 297 

CHAPTER VII -The Rock River Valley page 

1 . The country 421 

Exceptional growth during the years 1831 to 1350 421 

The settlements before 1830 421 

Rock Island 421 

Dixon 423 

All early settlements were on the Rock river 423 

2. From the Black Hawk War to 1837 424 

Troops in war see value of country 424 

Settlements along the Rock river 424 

Settlements away from the river 425 

Town of Sterling 425 

Northern settlements of the valley 425 

Boone county 425 

Winnebago County and Rockford 426 

Polish grant 426 

Stephenson county 426 

Period shows pioneer preferences for settlement 427 

Little development in the towns 428 

3. Prom 1837 to 1843 428 

Ogle county 428 

Grand Detour , 429 

De Kalb county 429 

Rockford 429 

Hard times in Winnebago county 430 

Growth slow 430 

Stephenson county 430 

Freeport 431 

The "prairie pirates" 431 

Scarcity of markets retarded settlement 432 

Trouble over claims 432 

4. From 1843 to 1850 432 

Period of rapid growth 432 

Reasons for the growth 433 

Increase is in the country, not in towns 433 

Ogle, DeKalb and Boone show little increase 434 

The other northern counties show large increase 434 

Rockford 435 

Farmers prosperous 436 

Stephenson county 436 

Immigrants from Pennsylvania 436 

Foreigners in the county 436 

Freeport 437 

Scattered settlements 437 

[ii] 



298 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER VII— The Rock River Valley— continued page 

5. Summary for the Rock river valley 437 

Two periods of development 437 

Rapid increase of the northern counties 438 

Nativities of settlers 439 

Education and religion 439 

CHAPTER VIII— Eastern Illinois 

1 . Wabash river counties 440 

Few settlers on the prairies. 440 

Edgar and Vermilion counties 442 

Danville 442 

Decade 1831 to 1840 442 

Decade 1841 to 1850 443 

Settlement moves towards the interior of the state 443 

Danville in 1850 443 

Other settlements 444 

2. Settlements before 1830 444 

McLean county settled rapidly 445 

Important towns in 1830 445 

Change comes in pioneer life 446 

3. Southern counties of eastern Illinois after 1830 446 

Jasper county 446 

Colonie des Freres 447 

Settlements after 1845 447 

Cumberland county 448 

Work on National Road helps increase settlement 448 

County fills up slowly 448 

Effingham county 449 

Teutopolis 449 

Shelby and Moultrie counties 450 

Coles county 450 

4 . Central counties of eastern Illinois 451 

Champaign county 451 

Urbana the county town 451 

Settlement of Champaign county slow 451 

De Witt county 452 

Piatt county 452 

Macon county 452 

McLean county , 453 

Important settlements in McLean county 454 

Ohio colony in McLean county 454 

Rhode Island colony 454 

[12] 



CONTENTS 



299 



CHAPTER VIII— Eastern Illinois— continued 

4. Central counties of eastern Illinois— coir- tinued 

McLean county — continued page 

Hudson colony 454 

Bloomington 455 

Bloomington in 1840 455 

5 . Northern counties of eastern Illinois 456 

Kankakee county 456 

Livingston county 456 

Pontiac 456 

Location of settlement in the county 457 

Slow growth 457 

Iroquois county 457 

Colonies in Iroquois county 458 

Paper towns 458 

6 . Summary for Eastern Illinois 458 

Small urban population 459 

Reason for few towns 459 

Influence of timber on location of settlement 459 

Nativities of the pioneers 460 

CHAPTER IX— The Lead Region 

1. Early explorations - . 461 

2. Lead Region before 1830 461 

Under government control 461 

First permanent settlements 462 

Growth begins in 1822. , 462 

Arrival of Meeker colony 463 

Establishment of new mining camps 463 

Lord Selkirk's colony , 464 

Rapid growth begins 1826—1827 464 

Winnebago War 465 

Organization of Jo Daviess county 465 

Desire to organize a new territory 465 

Galena in 1830 466 

3. Lead Region after 1830 467 

Black Hawk War 467 

Expansion after Indian treaty 467 

Galena gradually loses characteristics of a frontier town. . 467 

Galena in 1840 468 

Importance of the city as a trade center 468 

Government administration of mineral lands 469 

Minor settlements 470 

[13] 



300 CONTENTS 

CHAPTER IX— The Lead Region— continued page 

4. Carroll county 471 

Savanna 471 

Mt. Carroll.... 471 

5. Settlement of the Lead Region exceptional 472 

Frontier characteristics of Galena 472 

Loss of frontier characteristics 473 

Influence of water communication on character of settle- 
ment 473 

Influence of the mines on the character of settlement. . . . 473 

CHAPTER X-Chicago 

1. Chicago before 1832 475 

Major Long's prophecy for Chicago 475 

Chicago in 1826 476 

Chicago in 1830 476 

2. Chicago in 1832 476 

Rapid growth begins in 1833 478 

Increase in 1834 478 

Influence of speculation in 1835 . 478 

Speculation of 1835 and 1838 478 

Chicago in 1835 and 1836 479 

Chicago obtains a charter in 1837 480 

3. The financial revulsion of 1837. 481 

Effect upon the city 483 

4. Chicago from 1840 to 1843 481 

Character of population 481 

City rapidly built up 482 

Chicago a shipping point 482 

Origin of the export trade 483 

The residence district 483 

City improvements 484 

Chicago in 1843 484 

5. Chicago from 1813 to 1850 484 

Heterogeneous population 484 

Chicago a manufacturing city 485 

Commerce 485 

Few city improvements 486 

Unfavorable comments on Chicago 486 

Attempts to remedy defects 487 

Schools 487 

Churches 487 

Other developments — police, light 487 

Communication with interior 487 

[14] 



CONTENTS 



301 



CHAPTER X— Chicago— continued page 

6. Suburban communities 488 

7. Chicago's development not typical of western growth 488 

Influence of location on growth 488 

Influence of location on character of population 489 

Chicago the result of physiographic conditions 490 

CHAPTER XI— Foreign Elements in the Population of Illinois 

1. General statement concerning emigration 491 

Locations preferred by foreigners 491 

Tendency to group together 492 

2. Germans in Illinois 493 

Religious unrest a cause for emigration 493 

Political grievances another cause 494 

Economic causes 494. 

Crop failures 494 

Transportation companies 495 

Early settlements 495 

Teutopolis 495 

Settlements along Illinois river 496 

Settlements in northern Illinois 496 

In the Rock River Valley 497 

Germans desirable settlers 497 

Reasons for some Germans settling in cities 498 

Politics of the Germans 498 

3. Irish 499 

Causes for emigration. 499 

Tendency to locate in cities 499 

Along the line of Illinois-Michigan canal 500 

Some became farmers 500 

Characteristics of Irish settlers 501 

4. English 501 

Causes for emigration 501 

General depression 501 

Exorbitant taxes 502 

Political troubles 502 

London Roman Catholic Migration Society 502 

Early English settlements in Illinois 503 

Later settlements 503 

English as settlers 503 

5. Scotch 504 

Economic distress the cause for emigration 504 

Scotch as American citizens 504 

[15] 



302 CONTENTS 

CHAPTER XI— Foreign Elements in the Population of Ill- 
inois — continued page 

6. Scandinavians 504 

7. French 505 

Early French in Illinois 505 

Settlements after 1830 505 

8. Swiss 506 

9. Portuguese 506 

10. Poles, Welsh, Bavarians, Jews 506 

11. Line of the Great Lakes responsible for much of foreign ele- 

ment in Illinois 507 

Influence of climatic conditions, cheap lands and hatred 

of slavery 507 

CHAPTER XII— The Mormons in Illinois 

1. Social settlements in Illinois 508 

The Mormons before coming to Illinois 508 

In Missouri 508 

2. Mormons in Illinois 509 

Locate in Hancock county 509 

Rapid growth of Nauvoo 509 

Political contest for Mormon vote 510 

Charter for Nauvoo 510 

Nauvoo a government within a government 511 

Nauvoo legion 511 

Power abused 511 

Charter a source of weakness as well as strength 512 

3. Mormons from 18-12-1846 512 

Industries in Nauvoo 512 

Mormon population in 1842 , 513 

Settlement in 1842 513 

Missionary plans 514 

Results of missionary work 514 

Newspaper reports of colonies 514 

Growth during early forties 514 

Foreigners composed most of settlement 515 

City grows in wealth and beauty 515 

Travelers' accounts of Nauvoo 516 

Country farm houses not so good 517 

Nauvoo in 1845 517 



[16] 



CONTENTS 303 

CHAPTER XII— The Mormons in Illinois— continued page 

4. Expulsion of Mormons 517 

Hostility to the sect 517 

Accusations against the Mormons 51S 

Bennetts expose 518 

Charges increase 518 

Peculiar doctrines 519 

Questionable characters assemble in Nauvoo 519 

Thieves and counterfeiters there 519 

Jealousy within the church a cause for its downfall 520 

Arrest of Smith 520 

Governor Ford interferes 521 

Murder of Joseph Smith 521 

Panic in Nauvoo and Carthage 521 

Brigham Young the head of the church 521 

The election of 1841 521 

Threats against Mormons 521 

Repeal of charter 522 

Mormons determine to leave the state 522 

Treaty with Mormons 522 

Many Mormons leave 523 

Some wish to remain 523 

Mormons are expelled 523 

Nauvoo abandoned 524 

Expulsion a good thing for Illinois 524 

Mormon settlement a phase of western expansion 524 

Even the freedom of the frontier could not tolerate Mor- 

monism 525 

Nauvoo as a western city 525 

CHAPTER XIII— Communistic settlements in Illinois 

1. Fourier's settlements 526 

His doctrine -. . 526 

The Phalanr 526 

Introduced into the United States 527 

Bureau county Phalanx 527 

Integral Phalanx 527 

Not established on Fourier's idea 527 

2. The Bishop Hill Colony 528 

Religious difficulties in Sweden 528 

Eric Jansen 528 

Swedes resolve to emigrate 528 

Trip from New York to Illinois 529 

2 [17] 



304 CONTENTS 

CHAPTER XIII— Communistic Settlements in Illinois —con. 

2. The Bishop Hill Colony— continued page 

Accounts of their appearance 529 

Swedes in Illinois 529 

Erect church 530 

Method of living 530 

Were farmers 530 

Colony prosperous in 1850 . . . „ 531 

Dissension , 531 

3. Cabet's settlement 531 

Doctrine of Cabet 532 

Supported in Europe 532 

Cabet decides to move to America 532 

The Texas venture fails 533 

Move to Illinois 533 

The Constitution 533 

Everyday life of the community 534 

Not molested by the people of Illinois 534 

Breakdown of the colony 534 

4. Smaller experiments 535 

General plan of these colonies 535 

Are a phase of western expansion 535 

The Phalanx and Icaria as examples of the westward move- 
ment 536 

Icaria an example of democratic government and pure 

communism 536 

Phase of communism in the Bishop Hill colony 537 

No new social organization attempted. 537 

CHAPTER XIV— The Prairie Farmer 

1. Pioneers before 1830 538 

Influence of physiography , . 538 

Hunter pioneers driven back from northern Illinois 538 

Effect of steam navigation on the Great Lakes 539 

Order of migration of classes reversed 539 

2. Illinois prairies in 1830 , 639 

Pioneers shun the prairies 540 

Occupy small clearings made in timber 540 

Scarcity of timber on prairies 540 

Little water 540 

Later settlers forced onto the prairies 541 

Prairies improve upon acquaintance 541 

Timberland still most highly prized 541 

[18] 



CONTENTS 305 

CHAPTER XIV— The Prairie Farmer— continued 

2. Illinois prairies in 1830— continued. page 

Reports concerning climate , 541 

Much sickness in the new country 542 

High lands most heathful 543 

3. The home of the prairie man 543 

Furniture 543 

Prairie houses 543 

Cost of lumber 544 

4. The farm 544 

Ploughing 544 

Difficulty of the work 544 

Fences 545 

Wire fence solves the problem 546 

Trouble with gophers and prairie chickens 546 

5. Products of the farms 547 

Transportation problem 547 

Illinois-Michigan canal 548 

Other improvements 549 

Immense plans for Illinois 549 

Effect on the state 549 

Livestock 549 

Sheep 550 

6. Improved machinery 550 

Effect upon products 550 

Saw mills added to machinery 551 

7. The pioneer 551 

Woodland pioneers 552 

The true southern woodsman 552 

No classes in northern Illinois 552 

People in the north well-to-do 552 

The disreputable element 553 

Unfavorable comment 553 

Good traits of pioneers 553 

Hospitality - 554 

Effect of the country on the settlers 554 

Daily life of pioneer 555 

Amusements 555 

Opposition to gambling 55g 

Education 555 

Southern settlers and education 557 

Northern settlers and education 557 

Churches 557 

Work of the early settlers 553 

[19] 



306 ^CONTENTS 

CHAPTER XV— Conclusion page 

1 . Comparative views of Illinois 559 

Frontier line in 1830 559 

Frontier line in 1840 559 

Frontier line in 1850 559 

Population maps give only general idea of location of set- 
tlement 562 

2 . Period from 1830 to 1832 562 

Effect of Black Hawk War 562 

3. Period from 1833 to 1837 562 

Effect of steam navigation on the lakes 563 

Desire to emigrate to West 563 

Speculation and its influence upon the West 564 

The years 1835 and 1836 564 

Paper towns 564 

Successful ventures 565 

Substantial growth 566 

Lack of money a drawback to settlement 566 

Characteristics of northern Illinois settlement firmly 

fixed during this period 567 

Effect of steam on northern Illinois 567 

4. The period of depression, 1837 to 1843 568 

Immigration to the West 568 

Unfavorable conditions in Illinois 569 

Effect of specie circular » 569 

Finances in 1842 569 

Disputes over land claims 570 

Struggle against repudiation 570 

5. The period of recovery, 1843 to 1850 571 

Finances in 1846 571 

Recovery not rapid in all parts of the state 571 

Effect of the Douglas land bill on the eastern counties. . . 571 

Need of transportation facilities in the northern counties 572 

Effect of transportation lines on settlement 572 

Importance of lines of communication 573 

Nativities of the settlers of Illinois 573 

Lines of communication and their influence on sectionalism 573 
Period from 1830 to 1850 one of beginnings; the railroad 

necessary to solve the prairie problem 574 

[20] 



THE SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS FROM 1830 TO 1850 



CHAPTER I 

Introduction 



The state of Illinois offers a unique opportunity for the 
study of the westward movement and of the influences deter- 
mining the character and location of settlement. Owing to its 
size, its favorable location, the routes by which it can be reached, 
its varied physiographic divisions, its abundance of internal 
waterways, its numerous stretches of woodland, its extensive 
prairies and the time taken for the frontier line to cross the 
state 'we may well expect to find within its limits a varied popu- 
lation. 

The settlement of the state may be divided into four clearly 
defined periods, viz: (1) the period of the French occupation; 
(2) from the coming of the Americans to the opening of steam 
navigation on the Great Lakes; (3) from the opening of steam 
navigation on the Great Lakes to the opening of the railroads 
across the prairies; (4) after the opening of the railroads. 

This investigation deals with the third period of settlement 
(approximately from 1831 to 1850) which itself is conveniently 
divided into four periods somewhat less clearly defined than the 
general divisions already noted. First of these minor divisions 
is the period extending to the Black Hawk War; this serves 
as an' introductory period for the greater development soon 
to follow. Second is the period of speculation and rapid set- 
tlement which extends to the collapse of the internal improve- 
ment system in the state. It is difficult to fix a date for the 

[21] 



308 



BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 




The Prairies and Woodlands of Illinois 

North and east of the heavy line is prairie country, less than 20 per cent, wood- 
land. South and west of the heavy line is woodland, over 20 per 
cent. (Goode, The Geography of Illinois, 7.) 



[22] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 309 

close of this period since the effects of the fall of financial 
credit were not felt as quickly in some parts of the state as in 
others. The date falls between 1837 and 1840. The third 
period extends to 1845 and is one of depression. The last 
period, which follows 1845, is marked by a revival of confidence 
in the financial condition of the state and a gradual increase 
in the stream of immigration. In this period is felt the in- 
fluence of the proposed railroads. In a general way it is 
characterized by solid and substantial growth in wealth and 
population. 

Previous to 1830 the natural order of progression had been 
observed in the movement of settlement to the West. The 
hunter-pioneers of Kentucky and Tennessee had firmly es- 
tablished themselves in the southern woodlands of Illinois and 
had begun to send out new pioneers who traveled up the great 
internal waterway of the state, the Illinois river, or passed 
over into the Military Tract and followed the wooded banks of 
the Mississippi northward to the lead mines. These pioneers 
had become a permanent part of the state's population but as 
yet had not ventured away from the woodlands. They were 
content to cultivate their little clearings in the timber until 
succeeded by the small farmer, who, in turn, was succeeded 
by a third class, the more substantial farmer in search of a 
permanent location. The prairies were still unknown and the 
social organization of the South was waiting for some means 
by which the difficulties accompanying the subjugation of the 
prairies could be overcome. 

The new force came too late to aid the earliest class of settlers, 
for events operated in such a way as to act as a check upon the 
expansion of the hunter-pioneer. In 1832 the Black Hawk 
War broke out, driving the out-posts of settlement backward 
into the stronger southern communities and before a recovery 
of lost ground could be effected a more powerful check was 
administered to the expansion of settlement from the southern 
part of the state. It was a new force in the westward move- 
ment and by means of it the natural order of succession of 
classes was overturned and the class of substantial farmers was 
first upon the prairies of northern Illinois. The opening of 

[23] 



310 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

steam navigation upon the lakes, therefore, introduced a new 
class of pioneers into the westward movement. They were not 
in possession of a fund of experience gleaned from pioneer 
ancestors who for generations had battled with the hardships 
and problems of the frontier. They were simple farmers who 
were placed upon land already partly cleared by nature for oc- 
cupation; but the clearing had been done on such a grand scale 
that the abundance of riches caused trouble in the attempt to 
make use of them. With these prairie settlers the discussion 
is chiefly concerned and 1830 is taken as the starting point. 

The influence of lines of transportation coupled with the in- 
fluence exerted by the prairies of northern and eastern Illinois 
has operated to change the character of the western pioneers. 
As the route of the Ohio and the southern wagon roads gave 
character to the settlements in the South, so the northern route 
was to give character to the settlement of the northern counties 
and, owing to the increased rapidity of communication and the 
increased volume of immigration, the effect, if anything, was 
to be more marked. 

A dovetailing process had gone on in the central part of the 
state where the men from the Middle States and New England 
elbowed their way in between the timber tracts of the South, 
while the southern man chopped his way northward, through the 
timber along the rivers, until he had reached Woodford, Mar- 
shall and Putnam counties. Here the characteristics are not 
so marked. 

A comparison of those of the northern and southern ends 
of the state will, however, bring out clearly the distinction. 
Instead of a gradual settlement by successive classes in the 
North, as there had been in the South Where the hunter and back- 
woodsman with his rifle and hunting knife slowly moved on- 
ward before the increasing tide of civilization, combatting the 
savages and wild beasts, we see another development. The 
pioneer was rapidly transported from his native state to the 
West by the aid of steam and his conquest of the new country 
was effected with like rapidity. Instead of the rifle and 
hunting knife he brought his oxen and his farming implements. 
Nor was this all; the merchant, the artisan, the school master 



P00LEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 311 

and the preacher came also. The foundations of civilization 
were laid rapidly and creation rather than growth seems to have 
been the order of things. The savages having left, the pioneer 
had a free hand and the spread of settlement went on with 
corresponding celerity. Churches and school houses sprang up, 
together with comfortable dwellings, for the log-cabin age did 
not last long on the prairies. 

Physical characteristics, too, have had an enormous effect 
upon the location of population. Along the streams lay the 
timber and to the timber went the early settlers both from 
north and south, for they knew little of the prairies. In the 
valleys of the larger rivers the lowlands were at first not oc- 
cupied owing to floods and general unhealthf ulness ; in the 
districts near the head waters, of the rivers, the valleys were 
not so low; neither did the rivers tend to overflow for such ex- 
tended periods. Consequently we see the settlements closer 
to the streams, although still seeking, when possible, the elevated 
portions of land near at hand. It is also true that on the more 
level expanses of the state, away from the large rivers, the tim- 
ber was first occupied. When the next influx of settlers came 
an additional layer of settlement was formed around the timber 
lands and removed from them by the space of a mile or so. 

For years one of the greatest problems of the settlers was to 
find markets. The navigable streams were the highways of 
communication and here and there along them were towns of 
considerable prosperity, owing to the fact that the surround- 
ing agricultural regions poured in yearly crops of produce to 
be shipped down the streams to more advantageous markets. 
Moreover, it was to these towns that the farmers Were obliged to 
come to obtain their supplies from the eastern cities and by 
means of the traffic to and fro, the towns gained in prosperity. 
Few, indeed, and small were the inland towns for the reason 
that they afforded no markets. To the lack of markets, then, can 
be traced the internal improvement excitement which struck 
the state in 1836. Cost of transportation from Galena around 
by way of the Mississippi and the Ohio to the East was exces- 
sively high and it was too far to cart such a heavy product as 
lead across the state to a lake port. The southern farmers like- 

[25] 



312 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

wise were obliged to cart to a river port; those of central Ill- 
inois looked to Chicago for a market, often going one hundred 
or one hundred and fifty miles with farm produce at the cost 
of much time. Internal improvements were meeting with suc- 
cess in other parts of the land, so it was natural that they 
should be attempted in Illinois where markets were in great 
demand. 

The succeeding periods show like development and it is 
highly probable that little by little the prairies would have been 
assimilated, but it would have been a slow process, owing to 
the difficulties of transportation and of finding markets. When 
1850 came, the northern part of the state presented a peculiar 
bird's eye view — strips of comparatively closely settled country 
stretched away in every direction, indicating the timber tracts, 
while between them was the unoccupied prairie. Here lay the 
work for the railroads and these, by practically annihilating 
distances, created markets by bringing the producer and the 
consumer together, gave the settler something to cling to when 
he swung clear of the timber ; in short, gave him the key to the 
prairie. 

Exceptions are, of course, to be found to the general laws 
controlling the settlement of the prairies, but they are not fre- 
quent enough to overthrow these laws which seem to be the 
basis of the occupation of northern and eastern Illinois. 

The object of this discussion is to show the progress of set- 
tlement on the Illinois prairies, paying special attention to the 
influence of physiographic conditions, to lines of communication 
and to the change which took place so abruptly in the character 
of the pioneer class of the West, and to show the differences ex- 
isting between the pioneer of the woodlands and the pioneer of 
the prairielands. Causes for the settlement are to be noted, 
as well as such settlements as appear to be exceptional in char- 
acter and illustrative of some peculiar phase of the westward 
expansion. 



[26] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 313 



CHAPTER II 

Illinois Before 1830 



For many years subsequent to the Revolution, Illinois at- 
tracted but little attention. The legislature of Virginia, how- 
ever, in 1778 organized a county to which it gave the name 
now borne by the state and appointed for this newly organized 
county a magistrate called a Lieutenant Governor. It came 
under the control of the confederation when ceded in 1784 by 
Virginia. 

Although for years Kentucky and Tennessee had afforded 
homes for pioneers who had found their way over the moun- 
tains to the western world, Illinois and the Northwest seemed 
to offer few inducements. After visiting the territory north- 
west of the Ohio, preparatory to its organization into the North- 
west Territory, Monroe wrote to Jeff erson in a tone which showed 
that he had as yet no comprehension of the future greatness of 
this seemingly desolate country. "A great part of the territory 
is," he said, "miserably poor especially that near Lakes Mich- 
igan and Erie, and that upon the Mississippi and the Illinois 
consists of extensive plains which have not had from appear- 
ances, and will not have, a single bush on them for ages. The 
districts, therefore, w r ithin which these fall will never contain' 
a sufficient number of inhabitants to entitle them to member- 
ship in the confederacy." 1 

For a time it seemed that Monroe had spoken truthfully for, 
as yet, the railroads, the steamboats and the farming implements 
which were to be of service in the settlement of the great 
prairies were unkno'wn. Changes, however, soon began to take 



Monroe. Writings, 1. 117. 

[27] 



314 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN" 




KcfsKasKi 



Olfelesttne 



t.dw ifencevt'flc 



meeiown 



Illinois in 1830 

Shaded portion shows location of settlement : six or more per square mile ; hy 

counties. 



.28] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 315 

place. The soldiers of George Rogers Clark carried with them 
to the East tales of a wonderfully fertile and well-watered land 
and soon the familiar story of pioneer life was re-enacted in the 
river valleys of Illinois. The descendants of the frontiersmen 
who had chopped the first trails across the Alleghanies and 
who first wandered through the lonely western wilderness and 
built the small stockaded hamlets of Kentucky and Tennessee, 
impelled by the same restlessness which carried their fathers 
toward the West now moved across the Ohio to continue the 
struggle with wild nature and the wilder redmen. for possession 
of the territory which today constitutes the state of Illinois. 

The scene of earliest settlement in Illinois was the great 
American Bottom. The settlers were the French who acted 
as a connecting link between the French of Canada and the 
Great Lakes and those of the lower Mississippi. The American 
Bottom, so called to distinguish it from the Spanish possessions 
across the river, was an extremely fertile tract of land extend- 
ing from the mouth of the Kaskaskia to the mouth of the Ill- 
inois and containing about six hundred square miles. 2 The 
French settlements extended along this bottom from Kaskaskia 
to Cahokia more than fifty miles, and back a few miles from 
the Mississippi. By 1800 the French Creoles in these settle- 
ments numbered about 1,200. 3 

Several generations had flourished here happily under the 
mild sway of French officials — the military commandant and 
the priest — who ruled the people with an uncontrolled but 
parental authority. Separated from all the world these people 
acquired many peculiarities in language, dress, manners and 
customs. Many of their original traits were lost but still many of 
the leading characteristics of the nation were retained. The people 
were kind-hearted, hospitable and social but rivalled the Indians 
themselves for ignorance and laziness. A fruitful country 
made agriculture profitable when carried on, but the great 
amount of game within easy reach tended to make the young 
Frenchman follow the life of a hunter rather than that of a 



2 Brown, Western Gazetteer and Emigrants' Guide (1817). 20. 

3 Reynold^, Illinois, 19. 



[89] 



316 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN" 

fanner. 4 In mechanic arts no progress had been made; the 
old wooden plows used in' the early days still served the needs 
of this unprogressive people. 

The dress and homes of this quiet people were equally simple. 
Coarse blue cotton clothes, deer skin moccasins for their feet, 
blue handkerchiefs for their heads were worn by both sexes. In 
cold weather the skins of animals replaced the cotton clothing. 
Log houses, a single story high, with puncheon floors and 
thatched roofs were their abodes. The furniture was designed 
for usefulness rather than ornament. 5 

Around the village was a large tract known as the common 
field. Most of this was allowed to remain in open pasturage 
but parts were cultivated by those who chose to enclose them. 
Occupancy gave a title to land but all reverted to the com- 
munity when occupation ceased. 

So the Americans found them, a people of simple habits, un- 
ambitious and submissive, unoppressed by taxes or political 
grievances, recognizing a single church and under the leader- 
ship of the village priest who was their guide, friend and 
philosopher. 

By 1781 the earliest American settlements had been made in 
the American Bottom. In 1800 there were three hundred and 
fifty families settled here, most of the men having been soldiers 
of George Rogers Clark during his campaigns against Vin- 
cennes and Kaskaskia. Two colonies of Virginians had come 
in 1786 and 1793 settling at New Design and in the surrounding 
country forming the nucleus of the American settlements. 6 
Other settlers came from the various eastern states. 7 In all 
the population of the state numbered 2,000 in 1800. 8 

During the first decade of the new century population in- 
creased rapidly, 9 but the greater part was still in the American 



*Hall, Sketches (1835), 1, 148. 

5 Magazine of Western History, 10, 562. 

6 Settlements were made at Horse Prairie, Whiteside Station and Belle- 
fontaine in Monroe county and at Turkey Hill in St. Clair county. 

7 There were settlers from Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland, Tennessee, New York, 
New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New England. 

8 Reynolds, Illinois, 19. 

B The census of 1810 states population as 12,284; Reynolds, Illinois, 19, gives 
population as 2,000 in 1800. 



[30] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 317 

Bottom although the frontier line was gradually moving towards 
the interior of the state. 10 Across the territory in the Saline 
district a center of settlement had begun to form. In 1803 the 
salt springs had been purchased from the Indians and leased 
by the government to Captain Bell, a Kentuckian. 11 Shawnee- 
town, the center of the district, soon began to give evidence of 
becoming a town of some importance especially as a commer- 
cial center. It was on the Ohio river, the great highway for 
traffic and travel to the West and even at this early date ' ' great 
fleets of keel-boats concentrated at this point engaged in salt and 
other traffic." 12 Indian treaties during the decade opened up 
millions of acres of Illinois land for settlement but in spite of 
this fact the settlements still clung to the Ohio and Mississippi 
rivers. 13 

From the formation of Illinois territory in 1809 until the 
close of the "War of 1812, the settlements were engaged in a 
.struggle for existence. Many were abandoned during the war, 
on account of Indian troubles. In the years immediately fol- 
lowing 1810 the Chippewas, Kickapoos and Pottowatomies 
committed so many murders and thefts that Gov. Edwards 
raised a military force to suppress the disturbers. One expedi- 
tion destroyed a French village at Peoria which had been the 
headquarters of a band of savages who ravaged the country. 

Reports of the unhealthfulness of the new country, of Indian 
outrages, of earthquakes, and the insecurity of land titles all 
operated to retard the flow of settlers from the eastern states. 
Owing to the fact that Illinois had, at different times, been 
under French, British, Virginian and Federal rule, land titles 
were often conflicting. A commission appointed in 1804 labored 
for ten years to adjust these titles previous to the opening of 
the land sale at Kaskaskia in 1814. The pre-emption act of 
1813 did much to secure the pioneers in their possessions. 14 



10 Ridge Farm, Goschen, Wood River, Silver Creek, and Shoal Creek were the 
new settlements. 

11 Moses, Illinois, 1, 265. 

12 Reynolds, Illinois, 63. 

13 The treaties of Ft. Wayne (1803) : Vincennes (1803) ; St. Louis (1804) and 
the second treaty of Vincennes (1S04) opened 28,000,000 acres of Illinois land 
to settlement. 

14 Davidson and Stuve, Illinois, 291. 



[31] 



318 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

With the passage of this act and with the cessation of Indian 
raids after the close of the War of 1812 a new epoch in the 
settlement of the state began. The settlers acquired confidence, 
land rose in demand and in value. 15 New Englanders and 
foreigners came in greater numbers than ever before. The close 
of the European wars had ruined the lucrative commerce of 
New England and thrown many out of employment, some of 
whom found their way to Illinois. 

The great highway of travel was the Ohio river. A writer 
of the time says ' ' there is scarce a day except when the river is 
impeded with ice but what there is a greater or less number of 
boats to be seen floating down its gentle current to some place 
of destination. No less than five hundred families stopped at 
Cincinnati at one time, many of them having come a great dis- 
tance. " 16 From Kentucky and Tennessee groups of pioneers 
still came seeking the extreme frontier. 

Others came from the South Atlantic states. Cotton culture 
had, through the invention of the gin and through the prevail- 
ing high prices, become exceedingly profitable. The plantations 
were increasing in size and numbers and the introduction of 
the industry into the uplands tended to crowd out the small 
farmer since his more wealthy neighbor could offer prices for 
land which practically compelled him to sell. Some who moved 
went to the Gulf States ; others wishing to avoid the competition 
of slave labor turned to the northwest, and it became a familiar 
sight to people along the roads of western travel to see the old 
southern wagons covered with white sheeting and loaded with 
an enormous quantity of beds, buckets, old-fashioned chairs 
and such household furniture as was usually owned by our 
log-cabin ancestors, slowly rattling along their way to the West. 

On the eastern side of the territory the district of the Em- 
barras Was still the northern limit of settlement although there 
were a few settlers as far north as Edgar county. Crawford 
county with Palestine as a center of settlement had 2,100 set- 
tlers at the time of the admission of the state. 17 Eusselville 



15 Brown, Western Gazetteer and Emigrants' Directory (1817), 33. 

16 Harding, Tour through the Western Country, 5. 
"History of Crawford and Clark counties, 108. 



[32] 



POOLE Y SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 319 

in the county next to the south was the center of population. 
Directly to the west of Wabash county was the English settle- 
ment of Albion in Edwards county. This settlement, begun by 
Birkbeck and Flower, was one of the most important ones in 
Illinois. 18 Gallatin county With Shawneetown as its chief settle- 
ment was the most populous county on the eastern side of the 
territory, having in 1818 about 3,200 settlers. 19 Thirty or forty 
of these families resided in Shawneetown. A bank and a land 
office helped to make this village a decidedly important one. 
America with a population of several hundred was the chief 
southern town, 20 Cairo had a "local habitation and a name" 
having as yet not fulfilled the expectations of its founders. 

On the western side of the territory the pioneers grouped 
their settlements into three divisions, those settlements around 
the Big Muddy river, those along the Kaskaskia and those north 
of this last named district extending as far as Peoria. Of these 
the settlements along the Big Muddy were the weakest for the 
people moved very slowly towards the center of the state. 

The old Kaskaskia district was still the most populous one 
in the territory. 21 Settlements had been made along the Kas- 
kaskia and its tributaries for a considerable distance towards 
the interior. Kaskaskia, the seat of the territorial government, 
had a large floating population but the increase of permanent 
settlers was not large. There were in the tdwn in 1815 be- 
tween seven and ten hundred people. 22 Belleville, Cahokia, 
and Prairie du Long were the other important settlements of 
this part of the state. 23 In the interior there were few settlers. 24 

In the district above Kaskaskia, Edwardsville, the county 
town of Madison county, had sixty or seventy houses, a court- 
house, a jail, a bank, a land office and a newspaper. 25 Alton 



18 Daviuson and Stuve, Illinois, 349. 

19 Dana, Sketches of Western Country (1819), 153. 

20 History of Alexander, Union and Pulaski counties, 449. 

"Estimated at 11,842 (Dana, Sketches of the Western Country (1819), 153). 

22 Edwards, Illinois, 254. 

23 Cahokia had a population of between five hundred (Moses, Illinois, 1, 267) 
and one thousand (Life of Oardon S. Hubbard, 47). 

24 Bond county had only forty settlers in 1818 (History of Bond and Montgom- 
ery counties, 181). The Washington county settlements were at Covington, Beau- 
coup and Carlyle. 

25 Dana, Sketches of the Western Country (1819), 143. 



[33] 



320 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

had one hundred houses, the owners of many of these being 
people from the eastern states and in comfortable circum- 
stances. 26 The other settlements were smaller. 27 In all the 
population of Madison county was estimated at from 4,000 to 
5,500. 28 

Beyond the frontiers already mentioned (the line of the Ohio 
and "Wabash, the immediate vicinity of the Big Muddy and of 
the Kaskaskia and in Madison county) little settlement was to 
be found in the territory. The Kickapoos, a warlike Indian 
tribe, held undisputed possession of central Illinois and con- 
tinued to do so until the Treaty of Edwards ville was signed 
in 1819. 29 A few venturesome Kentuckians and Tennesseeans, 
together with some from the older settlements on the western 
side of Illinois had, however, pushed into the Sangamon country 
before the Indian title had been extinguished. These were the 
only settlers of the region. 

Far to the north in the lead region the first permanent white 
settlers were beginning to locate on Fever river. Likewise a 
few were at Ft. Dearborn which had been rebuilt in 1816. The 
Military Tract, although laid off, was as yet entirely unoccu- 
pied. 

The population of the territory when it began to seek ad- 
mission into the Union was 30,000. Since 40,000 was necessary 
for admission it devolved upon the census takers to make up 
the deficiency. One very effective plan was to station the enum- 
erators on the largest thoroughfares so they might be able to 
count explorers, movers and settlers. As a result more than 
one family of ten people grew to three or four times that num- 
ber when finally placed in the census books. 30 

Varied indeed was the population as the following quotation 
shows. "The early settlement of Clinton county will illustrate 
the heterogeneous nativity of early immigrants. Before 1820 



m m&., 142. 

27 Mound Piaira and Milton were the other settlements. The latter had fifty- 
houses {History of Madison County, 83). 

28 In the History of Madison County (130) the population of the county is 
given as 4,000; Dana, Sketches (1819) 153, gives an estimate of 5,500. 

29 Henderson, Early History of Sangamon County, 7. 

30 Brown, Early Illinois, 82, in Fergus Historical Series 2. 



[34] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 321 

there was a little group from Ohio; another from England, and 
several representatives from Virginia, Pennsylvania, North 
Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and one man from the 
Isle of Wight." 31 It is true that the pioneers from the South- 
west exceeded the others in numbers but foreigners, people 
from the Middle Atlantic states and New Englanders were far 
from being unknown in any of the regions. The Ohio river 
was the means of directing these settlers to southern Illinois and 
adding the northern element to the preponderating southern 
stream which had come by way of the wagon roads. 

Fifteen counties had been organized but altogether they 
formed but one-fourth of the territory and were by no means 
thickly settled. A line drawn from Alton, on the Mississippi, 
through Carlyle to Palestine on the Wabash would mark the 
northern extremity of settlement, but by no means does it mark 
the settled portion of the territory. 32 The pioneers clung closely 
to the great river systems, making their clearings and erecting 
their cabins along the banks of these streams. 

Within the boundary stated were prairies of considerable 
size, some of them being three days journey across. 33 The set- 
tlers, as yet, had not ventured upon them, believing them en- 
tirely unfit for settlement. Palestine, Palmyra, Carmi, Shaw- 
neetown, G-olconda and Albion were the population centers of 
eastern Illinois at the time of its admission. On the west Jones- 
boro, Brownsville, Kaskaskia, Harrisonville, Belleville, Cahokia, 
Edwardsville and Alton were of greatest importance. In the 
interior, Perrysville and Covington 'were the centers. Of these 
Kaskaskia, the seat of government and Shawneetown were the 
best known and thither as a rule the early pioneers came and 
from these points made explorations for the purpose of find- 
ing suitable places to settle. 

The year 1824 marks a turning point in the growth of the 
state. By the ordinance of 1787 slavery had been forbidden in 
the Northwest Territory, but it nevertheless existed in some 
portions of Illinois. A considerable number of the settlers of 



31 History of Marion and Clinton counties , 54. 

82 Davidson and Stuve, Illinois, 302. 

33 Breese, Early History of Illinois, preface 3. 



[35] 



322 BULLETIN" OF THE UNIVERSITY OE WISCONSIN 

the state being southerners who favored the institution, an 
attempt was made in the early twenties to call a convention to 
revise the state constitution in such a manner as to make slavery 
lawful. 34 The defeat of the plan came in 1824 and from that 
time dates an increase in immigration. Growth now went on 
more rapidly and when 1830 came the fifteen counties of 1818 
had grown to twenty-six and the population was 157,445 35 in- 
stead of the scanty 40,000 required for admission. 

New settlements continued to spring up and the older ones 
to increase in size. 36 America, G-reenville, Mayville, Frankfort, 
Equality, McLeansboro, Vienna, LaWrenceville, Salem, "Water- 
loo, Pinckneyville, Jonesboro, Fairfield and Vandalia each grew 
to some importance before 1830, 37 the last named one being made 
the capital city of the state in 1819. 38 These towns were in the 
immediate vicinity of the rivers and often in the timber lining 
the banks. 

Albion was an exception to the rule, however, having no water 
communication close at hand. Faux, who was not entirely 
friendly, describes the village in 1820 as having but "one house 
and ten or twelve log cabins, full of degenerating English me- 
chanics, too idle to work" who passed their time eating, drink- 
ing, brawling and fighting. The streets were almost impass- 
able o*wing to stumps and roots of trees protruding and puddles 
of dirty water standing before the doors of the cabins. 39 The 
town by 1830 had grown considerably, mechanics of every dis- 
cription were here and a hotel, a smithy and some stores had 
taken the place of the cabins. 40 

Shawneetown had grown from a town of three or four houses 
to a town of sixty houses and three hundred inhabitants in 



34 Harris, Negro Servitude in Illinois, 27-49. 

35 Eleventh Census (1890), 14. 

36 In 1819 some Shakers established a settlement in Lawrence county on the 
Embarras river. Frederick Ernst, a German of wealth and education, founded a 
German settlement at Vandalia in 1819 (Reynolds, Illinois, 183). Scattered settle- 
ments were made along the Little Vermilion, the pioneers being generally en- 
gaged in salt making, 

37 The National Calendar, (1830>. 

38 History of Fayette County, 12. 

39 Faux, Memorable Days in America, 2691; Smith, C. W., A Contribution 
toward a biography of Morris Birkbech and the English Settlement in Edwards 
County, Illinois in Transactions of the Illinois State Historical Society, (1905), 
Fordham, B. P., Personal Narrative. (Ogg, F. A. Editor). 

* 9 Stuart, Three Years in North America. 2, 2.37. 



[36] 



P00LEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS,, 1830-50 323 

1826. 41 It was still, at the close of the decade 1821 to 1830, 
the chief town of the eastern side of the state and the landing 
place of a great portion of the immigrants coming by way of 
the Ohio. 42 Cairo made no headway and in 1826 was still a 
village with only a tavern and a store. 43 

The villages of southern Illinois at this period were but 
frontier settlements containing from one to two hundred in- 
habitants and many not more than twenty or thirty. 44 The 
rivers were the connecting links between the settlements and the 
chief lines of communication with the outside world. Roads, 
too, were opened up between the chief centers of settlement. 
From Vincennes, Shawneetown, Golconda and America roads 
went across the state to St. Louis and Kaskaskia. Throughout 
the timbered tracts the settlers were scattered, forming ribbons 
of settlement from the two great rivers on the south and west 
of the state; but few indeed ventured further. Even as late 
as 1830 the Indians came back to hunt within the limits of 
settlement and fear of them retarded the advancement of the 
frontier. 

Although southern Illinois was as yet not thickly settled, it 
had begun to throw out lines of pioneers towards the north. 
The eastern portion of the state close to the rivers was well 
taken up, as was the western part, but between the two lay 
the unoccupied portion. Rather than risk the attempt to settle 
and cultivate the prairies, the new settlers preferred to go 
farther towards the frontier. It was a simple and natural 
force which impelled them. The fathers and grandfathers of 
these men from Kentucky and Tennessee had battled with 
nature in the woodlands of the Southwest ; the pioneers them- 
selves had grown to manhood surrounded by the woodlands, they 
were, in the settlement of Illinois, merely putting into operation 
the results of the experiences of two or three generations of 
pioneers. To them the prairies offered insurmountable ob- 
stacles with which they felt it Was useless to cope. When the 



41 History of Gallatin, Saline, Hamilton, Franklin and Williamson Coxmties, 95. 

42 Edwards, History of Illinois, 359. 

43 The Americans as They Are, 78. 

44 Patterson, Early Society in Southern Illinois, 109, in Fergus Historical 
Series, 2, 14. 

[37] 



324 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

timberland of southern Illinois was all claimed, the stream of 
men from the old settlements slowly urged their oxen north- 
ward through the settled portions to the new country which at 
that time was rapidly gaining in fame. Here in this Sangamon 
country the hunter-pioneer found an ideal land and here we find 
the re-enactment of the scenes of the first settlement of the ex- 
treme southern portion of the state. 

The fertile land of central Illinois, south of the Sangamon 
river, was well watered and also well timbered. A few settlers 
had found their way here before the Kickapoo title had been ex- 
tinguished by the Treaty of Edwardsville in' 1819, but it was not 
until the decade 1821 to 1830 that the true settlement took place. 
It was with a certain degree of confidence that the settlers took 
possession of the new land, for they were comparatively close 
to the strong settlements north of the Kaskaskia river and thus 
in touch with the rest of the state. 

Here a sort of experimentation began. Between the tracts 
of timber land were inviting stretches of prairie upon which, 
owing to the proximity to the timber, the sod 'was not so tough 
nor the grass so long as it was on the large prairies. The tran- 
sition from woodsman to prairie cultivator on a small scale was 
here made easy. The cabin, as before, was built at the edge 
of the timber, if water was convenient, and a portion of the 
prairie was fenced. The friendly timber gave shelter from the 
excessive heat of summer as well as from the cold prairie winds 
of winter; and moreover it furnished a refuge for stock in 
summer when the open prairie was infested by myriads of 
horse-flies. The open prairie saved the pioneer an enormous 
amount of labor generally necessary to make his clearing and 
he soon found that crops grew as well or even better here than 
on cleared land. Success was then assured in the subjugation 
of the prairies, providing they were very small ones, where 
every man could, figuratively speaking, keep his back to the 
timber and his attention on the prairie. 

It must not, however, be understood that the settlers went im- 
mediately to such places where they were able to take advantage 
of both prairie and woodland, for settlement clung closely to the 
woods of the Illinois river and its tributaries for several years. 

[38] 



POOLE Y SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 325 

Two hundred families were in the Sangamon country prior to 
1820 and of these, sixty were grouped on Macoupin, Apple, and 
Otter creeks, within thirty miles of the Illinois river. 45 Cass, 
Morgan and Scott counties, lying immediately between the 
Sangamon and Illinois rivers, had only twenty families m 
1820. 46 Farther east along the Sangamon were a few scattered 
families and others had ventured across the river to Macon 
county by 1827. 

The question of slavery in Illinois having been settled 
in 1824, immigration set in with renewed vigor, reaching 
its greatest development in 1827 and in 1828. 47 The set- 
tlers came in groups of five or ten families although it was 
no uncommon sight to see one hundred wagons in a single 
company going to the Sangamon country. 48 Steam navigation 
had begun on the Illinois river in 1828 and by connecting the 
frontier with the older settlements strengthened the former to 
.such a degree that from these younger settlements a new migra- 
tion soon began to take place. The extension took place rapidly 
and by 1830 the timber lands of the Sangamon were densely 
enough populated to warrant the erection of six new counties. 49 
The population of this Sangamon country in 1830 was 42,385. 50 
Of these twenty-eight were slaves. 51 

Springfield, at first called Calhoun, was established in 1819. 52 
Although it was perhaps the most important town in this part 
of the state in 1830 and had between six and eight hundred 
settlers', it was still characterized as "a straggling village. " 53 
Jacksonville in Morgan county was about the same size, and the 
other settlements were of less importance. 54 



45 Dana, Sketches of the Western Country, 144. 

49 History of Cass County, 18. 

"History of Macon County, 34. 

43 perrin, History of Jefferson County, 124. 

49 Greene, Morgan, Macoupin, Montgomery, Macon and Shelby. 

50 Eleventh Census, (1890) 15. 
81 Niles' Register, 43, 35. 

62 Barber and Howe, History of the Western States, 1072. 

68 Stuart, Three Years in North America, 2, 216-224. 

54 Carrollton, in Greene County, was begun in 1818 (History of Greene County, 
328) ; Hillsboro, in Montgomery County, settled in 1817 or 1818 (History of 
Bond and Montgomery Counties, 215) ; Decatur, in Macon County, was settled 
in the early twenties, (History of Macon County, 31) ; Shelby ville, in Shelby 
County, was settled in 1825 (History of Shelby and Moultrie Counties, 42). 

[39] 



326 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN" 

The Military Tract which comprised all the territory between 
the Illinois and Mississippi rivers as far north as Rock Island 
county, had been allotted by the Federal government to the vet- 
erans of the war of 1812. 55 Few of the original grantees deemed 
the land of sufficient value to repay the labor of settling and 
cultivating and consequently but a small proportion took advan- 
tage of the opportunity afforded for obtaining farms. Those 
who lived close to the region, however, were awake to the value 
of the land, and many settled upon it as "squatters" without 
any valid title save that of occupation. To make improvements 
under the existing circumstances was a venture which led to 
doubtful returns. Often, indeed, when the pioneer had suc- 
ceeded in making his clearing, building his cabin and perhaps 
breaking a little plot of prairie land, the holder of the original 
patent would appear upon the scene and oust him. So frequent 
was this procedure that it soon became a profitable business for 
a certain class of men to obtain these squatters ' claims by means 
of forged patents and it gave rise to much trouble. 

The process of settlement in this part of the state was iden- 
tical with that of the portions already studied. The two great 
rivers served as connecting lines with the older settlements of 
the South and along the tributaries we find the first settlers 
establishing themselves. Peoria, the oldest town in this part 
of the state had been deserted in the closing years of the eight- 
eenth century. In 1813 Ft. Clark had been built and in 1819 
the first permanent settlers came to Peoria. 56 In 1825 the 
county was organized and had at the time a population of 
i;236 57 which included all the settlers of the northern part of 
the state. 

The counties at the southern end of the Tract (Calhoun and 
Pike) are broken and hilly near the rivers. Gilead in Calhoun 
county and Atlas in Pike county both situated in the timber 
within convenient distance from the river but away from the un- 
healthful bottoms were the only villages in 1830. Along the 
creeks of Schuyler and Brown counties, Kentuckians, Virgin- 



55 History of Fulton county, 191. 

66 History of Peoria county, 273-274. 

67 Ballance, Peoria, 45. 

[40] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 327 

ians, Pennsylvanians, Carolinians and Tennesseeans settled be- 
side men from Indiana, Ohio, Missouri and Illinois. Lewis! on 
and Canton in Fulton county completed the list of settlements of 
importance on the eastern side of the Tract. 

Adams county was the most populous district on the Mis- 
sissippi river north of the mouth of the Illinois and Quincy was 
the largest settlement. 58 Venus in Hancock county was the only 
other settlement of note in 1830. Few settlers had gone to 
the interior. 59 

In all there were about 13,000 people in the Military Tract 
in 1830 60 and by far the greater percentage were close 
to the great rivers forming the boundaries of the district. 
In character the population was the same as that of the 
Sangamon country, for the settlements along the Illinois river 
were only outgrowths of the older Sangamon settlements. The 
Kentuckians and Tennesseeans appeared frequently as in south- 
ern Illinois taking possession of the timberlands and leading a 
half-hunter, half-farmer life. New Englanders and men from 
the Middle States, however, were much more numerous than in 
other parts of the state. 

At the lead mines in the extreme northwestern part of Ill- 
inois an exceptional settlement had already begun to form. 
Lead had been found years before in the hilly region near the 
Mississippi and after 1818 a steady stream of adventurers 
flowed here. Southerners came in great numbers owing to the 
convenient line of communication. By 1830 there were over 
2,000 settlers at the Illinois mines and many more at the Wis- 
consin and Iowa mines. 61 

The primary object of this settlement was not to find suitable 
farming lands well-supplied with timber and water. It was to 



E8 In 1825 there were forty votes cast at a county election (History of Adams 
county, 262) ; in 1830 the population was 2,186. (Eleventh Census [1890] 14) ; 
the population of Quincy was estimated at two hundred in 1830 (Asbury, 
Quincy, 41). 

:9 Warren, Mercer, Henderson, Knox and Bureau counties had a combined popu- 
lation of less than six hundred and fifty. (Eleventh Census [1890] 14.) 

e° ma. 
61 ma. 



[41] 



328 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

take advantage of the mineral deposits. Timber and water 
were found in abundance, and also an excellent line of trans- 
portation but these things were of secondary importance and 
had the mines been found on the open prairie it is highly prob- 
able that the settlement would have sprung up as rapidly as it 
did under the existing conditions. 

Chicago as yet showed no signs of its coming greatness. Lake 
navigation by steam had not yet begun, nor had the settlers of 
Illinois approached near enough to Lake Michigan to look to 
Chicago for a market or a supply depot. The population of the 
little village did not number more than one hundred. 62 

The population of the entire state in 1830 numbered 157,500 
people. 63 The population map for 1830 shows a nicely rounded 
line of settlement which leads an unquestioning observer to be- 
lieve that the advance of the frontier took place With mathemati- 
cal precision. Closer study will reveal a different state of 
affairs. Along the Ohio river and its numerous tributaries on 
the eastern side of the state was a comparatively densely settled 
area. Between the projecting ribbons of settlement which lined 
the streams were the prairies as yet hardly occupied. The 
same is true of the western side of the state along the Mississippi. 
The Illinois river furnished the road to central and northern 
Illinois. 64 

The pioneer of the Illinois frontier was still of the hunter 
type. He was primarily a woodsman who had come to the new 
country with his rifle, axe and hunting knife prepared to at- 
tack the problem of the frontier in the same way his ancestors 
had attacked it in Kentucky and Tennessee generations before. 
He changed little before 1830, for his cautious contact with the 
small prairies of the South gave him little real capital with 
which to attack the broader expanses of the North. Practically 
shut off from the prairie, he followed the woodlands until the 
outbreak of the Black Hawk War in 1832, which date marks 



62 Chicago Tribune, April 12, 1875. 

63 Eleventh Census, (1890) 14. 

61 The census maps use the county as the unit, and therefore exhibit as settled 
many areas really vacant. 



T42] 



P00LEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 329 

the beginning of a sudden and sharp transition in pioneer 
characteristics. Before 1832 the settlement of the state was 
only a continuation of pioneer days in the older states. Now 
a new problem confronted the tide of pioneers who were crossing 
the continent. On the wide treeless expanses of eastern and 
northern Illinois were to be solved the problems which gave 
rise to a new class of frontiersmen — the prairie pioneers. 



[43] 



BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 



CHAPTER III 

Causes for the Settlement of Illinois 



The Americans as a people are prone to migrate. From the 
earliest date at which the settlements scattered along the shores 
of the Atlantic ocean were able to push their limits one mile 
up the rivers towards the back country the gradual movement 
to the "West has appropriated the land step by step until the 
entire expanse from coast to coast has been brought under the 
direct control of the race. 

The census of 1850 shows that of 17,737,000 free inhabitants 
in the United States at that date over 4,100,000 or twenty three 
per cent, had migrated from the states of their birth. 1 

A general law concerning the order of classes seems to have 
been followed in this movement of settlement to the West, es- 
pecially before transportation by steam lent its enormous in- 
fluence towards the development of the great West. First came 
the hunter-pioneer; next, the small farmer who drove the hunter 
farther toward the frontier and who himself gave way in time 
to the third class of settlers, the larger farmers whose aim was 
to improve the land, erect homes and become the permanent oc- 
cupants of the country. 

The causes leading to this movement towards the West are of 
two classes; general causes affecting the entire nation, and 
special causes affecting localities at various times and in vary- 
ing degrees. The general causes may be grouped under three 
heads: the restless spirit pervading all classes, the Systems of 
internal improvements developed during the period, and the 
financial causes. 



1 Abstract of the Seventh Census, (1850) li 

[44] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 331 

The restless spirit which ever aimed towards expansion and 
economic betterment is the great one among the general causes; 
its growth was the result of a combination of local causes and 
of general causes which operated constantly throughout the 
period. Dissatisfaction with existing conditions was prevalent 
among all classes. Moreover, it was believed that these con- 
ditions could be improved in the new country where land was 
cheap and fertile and could be acquired and turned into fruit- 
ful farms- with a reasonable effort upon the part of the settler. 

There were in every community, citizens who had lost their 
credit and of necessity needed new homes. In the woodlands 
these people became solitary pioneers who felt most at ease 
when "twenty miles from law and calomel" and who breathed 
easiest when the nearest neighbors were ten miles away. The 
farm laborers who, dissatisfied with the existing scale of wages 
in the older communities and understanding the science of 
agriculture well enough to manage and work farms of their 
own, moved to the frontier, took up government lands and laid 
the foundations of new settlements beyond the limits of civil- 
ization. These became the small farmers who moved along in 
the wake of the hunter-pioneers. 

To a considerable degree the farmers in the West were in- 
fluenced by comparative land values. The available lands in 
the East were mostly cultivated and brought high prices. The 
small farmer had not the means with which to buy out his 
neighbor should the latter desire to sell. In the West vast 
stretches of land were offered for sale by the government at low 
prices and consequently there was a desire among the eastern 
farmers to take advantage of the opportunity offered and by 
disposing of their small but high priced farms to those able and 
willing to buy, they could take up larger and more fertile farms 
in the western country. 

In earlier years the history of public lands is that of large 
companies. Later, by successive changes in the administration 
of such lands the prices and quantities were placed within the 
reach of the smaller purchaser. When in 1820 the price was 
reduced to a dollar and a quarter per acre and land was sold in 
lots as small as eighty acres, the incentive for the migration 

[45] 



332 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

westward was increased. The effect is seen when we notice the 
Foote resolution introduced into the House in December, 1829, 
asking that an inquiry be made concerning the advisability of 
the rapid sale of the public lands. The significance of this lies 
in the fact that the rapid sale of public lands at low prices was 
draining the East of its laboring class and acting as a detriment 
to the industrial enterprises Which the eastern men were at 
that time attempting to foster. 

Again in 1834 when the question of ceding the public lands to 
the states in which they were situated was reported upon by 
Henry Clay, the committee stated that it was not of the opin- 
ion that the cession should take place, or the price of land be 
reduced, giving among other reasons that such a procedure 
would operate as a bounty to increase emigration from the 
older states, lessening the value of the eastern lands and drain- 
ing them of currency and population. 2 

To intensify the feeling of restlessness and dissatisfaction 
already existing, another influence was brought to bear on those 
who remained at home, by the people who had dared the pri- 
vations of the frontier. Letters from successful pioneers painted, 
in bright colors', the wonderful opportunities of the West ; com- 
panies, formed with the idea of taking up land and speculating 
in it, sent hundreds of thousands of circulars to the East, worded 
in such a way that their readers felt that the time for the rapid 
accumulation of wealth was at hand, and thousands hastened to 
take advantage of the golden opportunities. Newspapers, in 
some regions, aided in the work, pointing out the advantages 
to be derived by farmers, and especially laboring men with a 
small amount of capital, should they but move to the "West. 3 
Moreover, the effect of western competition in agricultural pro- 
ducts was pointed out and it was shown that before the lapse 
of any great period of time the rapidly growing West would 
undersell the East an its own market. 

Rivalry among the great eastern cities for western trade 
gave a cause for migration. The internal improvement systems 
developed by the efforts of the various states in the attempt to 



2 Senate Documents, 323, 23 Congress, I Sess., 24. 

3 Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, Mar. 24, 1846. 



[46] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 335 

benefit their cities afforded, when completed, an easy access to 
the West. The dissatisfied settlers, who hitherto had needed only 
some such stimulant to start him to the new country now took 
advantage of the opportunity presented by a comparatively easy 
journey westward. Others who were making a comfortable 
living on their farms decided to remain at home but the new 
lines of communication influenced these people in' another way. 
The West Was growing and its farms produced ever increasing 
amounts of grain. Home markets could not consume the supply, 
so the products were turned eastward through these lines of 
communication and brought into competition with the produce 
of the eastern farm. Prices fell and the man who had remained 
at home could no longer make his comfortable living and was 
compelled either to lower his standard of comfort or to move to 
the West where it could be maintained. 

If a system of roads produced a noticeable effect upon the 
volume of migration westward,, the introduction of steam navi- 
gation had a still more marked influence. The inconveniences 
of travel were diminished and the cost of transportation de- 
creased by the steamboats of the Ohio river and the Great Lakes- 
which soon became the means of travel of an ever-increasing 
number of immigrants. The importance of steam navigation in 
aiding in the development of the West may be best illustrated 
by a quotation. ' ' Of all the elements of prosperity of the West — 
of all the causes of its rapid increase in population, its growth 
in wealth, resources and the improvement of its immense com- 
merce and gigantic energies, the most efficient has been the navi- 
gation by steam." 4 

Third in the list of general causes was the financial depres- 
sion which swept over the country in the closing years of the 
decade 1831-1840. 5 The panic can be attributed to no one 
thing. Prominent among the causes was over-speculation. 
Suddenly the people of the East saw that there were fortunes 
to be made in western lands and no sooner was the discovery 



* Memorial of the People of Cincinnati (1844), 28. 

6 See, Bourne, The Distribution of the Surplus ; Dewey, Financial History, Ch. 
X ; Schurz, Henry Clay, 2., Ch. XIX ; Scott, Repudiation of State Debts; Shep- 
hard, Martin Van Bur en, Ch. VIII. 

[47] 



334 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

made than the price of town lots, either real or imaginary, went 
up to enormous prices. "Wherever the surveyor took the magic 
chain and compass — no matter how remote from population — 
there it became certain that a mighty city would, at no distant 
day, arise." 6 Walls of buildings in the various cities were 
covered with maps of towns that were still miles in the woods 
or feet under water. Hundreds of acres of land which were 
valued at prices ranging from one hundred to one thousand 
dollars have not yet reached the value at which they were sold 
and resold during these months of frenzied speculation. 

Farmers, traders and capitalists were, however, not the only 
classes to become involved in the general upheaval during the 
closing years of the thirties. As a result of the increase of 
speculation there was a movement among the laboring class, 
and a general demand for an increase of wages, to correspond 
with the increase in prices. To attain this end, combined ef- 
forts on the part of laboring men were necessary and a tend- 
ency towards the federation of labor became distinctly marked. 
Trade unions were formed, and before 1840, ship carpenters, 
joiners, house carpenters, painters, roofers, brick-layers, tailors 
hatters, harness-makers, shoe-makers, masons, factory operatives, 
and others had organized unions. 7 

The upward movement of prices was such that the average 
cost of a workman's living was twenty-one per cent, greater in 
July, 1835 than it was in April, 1834 and sixty-four per cent, 
greater in October, 1836 than in 1834. 8 Higher wages and the 
"ten-hour" day Were the demands. Immediate concessions 
were the only remedy and when these were not obtainable, strikes 
followed. From 1834 to 1837 the cities of Philadelphia, Boston, 
Hartford, Trenton, Washington, Natchez, St. Louis, Cincinnati 
and Louisville all experienced labor troubles culminating in 
strikes, showing the wide-spread influence of the movement. 9 

The days of the greatest monetary inflation saw the wages 
of the laborers increased to a considerable extent, and quietude 
ruled for a time. The revulsion came in 1837. Employers at 



6 Balestier, Annals of Chicago, 25, in Fergus Historical Series, 1. 

7 Yale Review, 1, 87. 

8 Ibid., 1, 94. 
8 Ibid., 1, 98. 



[48] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 335 

first reduced the number of hours each laborer should work and 
upon finding this of no avail, reduced the wages of the laborers. 
With the fall in labor prices there came no corresponding fall 
in prices of commodities. The army of the unemployed grew 
rapidly and in September of 1837 the New York Era says "We 
can state on the best authority that in the eastern' states nine- 
tenths of the factories have been stopped and the same propor- 
tion of men, women and children thrown out of employment. ' ' 10 
Resulting from this change in the condition of the laborers, 
meetings of a more or less riotous nature occurred in various 
cities, but the most notable consequence was the unusual im- 
migration to the West, 11 for these people, lacking the means 
for support in their native cities, took up the heritage of the 
poor man. cheap lands in a new country. 

To the causes which operated throughout the entire land, local 
causes must be added if we are to understand the reasons for 
the increase and decrease in the volume of the westward move- 
ment. In New England there was a never ceasing desire "to 
see how things went in other parts;" a desire to find a land 
which offered better advantages for accumulating wealth than 
were found at home and as a consequence we find Yankees 
everywhere. They moved up the river valleys of their native 
states into the newer regions of northern' New England; next, 
they settled western New York and later moved westward into 
Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa. They found their way 
to the southern states and even to the West Indies. 12 

The surface of New England, much broken by hills and rocky 
ledges, while it does not afford the best facilities for agricul- 
ture on a large scale, offers opportunities for small farming. 
The common grains — rye, corn, and buckwheat, together with 
potatoes and garden vegetables, were produced along the hill- 
sides and in the valleys with considerable success. 13 . Wheat 
growing was never a source of wealth to the New England 



10 The New York Era, Sept. o, 183T. 

11 Yale Review, 1, 99. 
**Niles' Register, 59, 224. 

13 Hunt's Merchants' Magazine, 5* 201. 



[49] 



336 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

farmer 14 and of the other products little more than home sup- 
plies were produced. 

The farms were small, generally from fifty to two hundred 
acres, divided into fields disproportionately small; sometimes 
fifteen or twenty fields making a single farm. 15 The imple- 
ments of husbandry were simple and did not afford the best 
results. By 1830 all the available lowlands were taken up and 
the hillsides were being used, especially in Vermont. The ris- 
ing generation of young men finding how difficult it was to 
support themselves on one hundred acres or less, turned their 
eyes to the West. 

If wheat could not be cultivated with advantage, and if the 
narrow valleys did not afford support for a numerous agricul- 
tural class, there was an industry which would flourish, but 
unfortunately it, too, tended pratically to diminish the amount 
of cultivated land. The w T ool industry had received a great 
impetus when the Merino sheep was introduced. "The provi- 
dential acquisition of this inestimable animal" says a New 
England paper " is in every point of view worthy the attention of 
all classes of citizens, especially farmers. The golden fleece 
of the Merino sheep presents to every prudent and thrifty 
farmer a mine of wealth from which he may draw to his in- 
dustry,, economy and the extent of his means." 16 

The value of the industry to the investor had been further 
enhanced by the protective tariffs of 1824 and 1828, the greatly 
increased foreign demand and the competition among the wool 
dealers at home. The average price of wool in Vermont for 
the decade 1831-1840 was fifty-two cents a pound. 17 After 
1839 a gradual decline took place. 18 Farmers interested in 
varied agriculture had been unusually unsuccessful, especially 
with their wheat crops from 1824 to 1837 19 and many looking 
for better fields of industry turned to sheep raising. In western 



14 The Neio Englander, 52, 338. 

15 Atlantic Monthly, 26, 333. 

16 Boston Patriot, Oct. 3, 1810. 

17 House Misc. Document, 105, 52 Cong., 2 Sess., 319. Prices sometimes rose 
to ninety cents per pound {Jsliles' Register, 40, 292). 

ls Nile\s' Register, 72, 331. 

19 Goodhue, History of Shorcham (Vt.), 59. 



[50] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 



337 



Massachusetts, in the Berkshire Hills, and in hill towns of the 
Connecticut valley wool growing was one of the most lucrative 
pursuits. 20 Factories continued to spring up to increase the 
demand for wool. 21 

Sheep farming, to be conducted with the greatest profit, re- 
quires more extended tracts of land than do the other agri- 
cultural pursuits, so the demand for desirable land in New 
England grew rapidly as did the prices paid for it. "Wealthy 
men found paying investments by buying the land of the small 
farmer, even at advanced prices. Sales were practically com- 
pelled for the poor man was offered prices he could not afford 
to refuse. 

The crisis of 1837 and a crop failure in the same year brought 
economic distress to New England and helped to swell the num- 
bers migrating. A decline in the price of wool followed and 
although the tariff act of 1842 acted for a time as a stimulus 
to the manufacture of wool, it did not remain in operation long 
enough to make clear what its permanent effect would have 
been. 22 Here, it appears, began the decline from which the 
sheep farming industry did not recover. 23 

About this time the farmers became interested in dairy farm- 
ing and when the railroads of the forties increased the value 
of dairy products by opening up the markets in the cities many 



20 Home Misc. Doc. 105, 52 Cong., 2 Sess., 239 ; Hues' Register, 49, 68. 

21 In 1832 the value of woollens in Mass. amounted to $6,500,000 ; in 1837 
they were valued at $10,400,000. There were nearly two hundred mills in 
operation manufacturing over 11,300,000 yards of cloth yearly. (Eighth Census 
(1860), xxxii.) 

22 Taussig, Tariff History, 144, cf. Eighth Census (1860), xxxii. 

23 House Misc. Doc. 105, 52 Cong., 2 Sess., 343, gives the following statistics 
concerning sheep and wool : 





Wool (lbs. 


produced) 


Sheep (number) 




1840 


1850 


1840 


1850 


Maine 


1,465,551 

1,260,517 

3,699,235 

941,906 

183,830 

889,810 


1,364,034 

1,108,476 

3,400,717 

585,138 

129,692 

477,454 


649,264 
617,390 
1,681,819 
378,266 
90,146 
403,462 


451,577 


New Hampshire 

Vermont 


384,756 

1,014,122 

188,651 

44,296 


Massachusetts 


Rhode Island 


Connecticut 


174,181 




Total 


8,440,909 


7,085,509 


3,820,307 


2,257,583 





[51] 



338 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

gave up wool-growing for dairying. The effect upon the sup- 
ply of land was the same as before. 

It appears that these causes combined to decrease the agri- 
cultural population of New England, if relative amounts of 
products may be taken as a basis for comparison. 24 The pro- 
ductions of wool, wheat, oats and rye had decreased in vary- 
ing degrees in most of the states 1 . 25 The cultivation of corn had 
increased. The number of cattle had increased in Maine and 
Rhode Island but in all other states had decreased as had the 
number of horses, sheep and hogs. 

The decrease of the agricultural class can be accounted for in 
two ways; these farmers either moved to the cities or to the 
West. During the decade 1831-1840 when the sheep indus- 
try had reached its height and the rapidly developing cattle 
industry was claiming the New England lands, many of the 
small farmers preferred to go into the less populous states of 
Maine and New Hampshire. In these states land was not costly 
and upon the whole was good for cattle and sheep farming in 
spite of the severe winters experienced there. By 1840, how- 
ever, there were no longer extensive new areas in New England 
and again a change came in the direction of the tide of emi- 
gration. 

The industrial life of the New England people was altered at 
this time and for a while at least this seems to have stayed the 
flow from this section. With the decline of agriculture there 
came an increased activity along manufacturing lines. Dur- 
ing the decade of 1841-1850 manufactures almost doubled in 
value, giving employment to an increased number of hands. By 
1850 over 298,000 people were employed and $158,000,000 were 
invested in the factories of New England. Massachusetts alone 
had in 1850 manufacturing industries valued at $83,360,000 
which almost equaled the amount invested by all the New Eng- 
land states at the opening of the decade. 26 



24 A change of methods in the censuses of 1840 and 1S50 will not allow con- 
clusions to be drawn from a comparison of figures denoting inhabitants engaged 
in agriculture. 

25 Rhode Island showed an increase in the amount of oats ; Vermont, of wheat. 
28 Compendium of the Seventh Census (1850), 179; Compendium of the Sixth 

Census (1840), 111-127. 

[52] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 339 

It is reasonable to believe that the class turned from agri- 
culture would attempt to gain a livelihood by taking advantage 
of the opportunities manufacturing offered. At this point, 
however, a new influence acted to turn the New Englander 
westward. Foreign immigrants were landing on our shores in 
constantly increasing numbers and many of these people 
remained to seek employment in the eastern cities. 27 These for- 
eigners furnished a large percentage of the laboring class of 
the factories and by beating down wages compelled their Ameri- 
can competitors to withdraw. The New Englanders, moreover, 
did not care to be associated with the foreign workmen and 
hence social as well as economic influences operated to hurry 
great numbers of these New England people westward over 
the Great Lakes again to become farmers on the prairies of the 
Middle West. 

In the Middle Atlantic states conditions also favored emi- 
gration. "Hard times" was the complaint of farmers, manu- 
facturers and laborers in New York and Pennsylvania. Num- 
erous memorials to Congress came from New Yorkers in 1834 
asking that body to make some attempt to alleviate the distress 
prevalent throughout the state. From Albany came the com- 
plain of a lost market and a great cut in the wages of the labor- 
ing men ; 28 from Rochester came the news that the flouring mills 
had closed on account of the instability of money ; 29 from Otsego 
county a memorial was presented saying that the merchants 
could not collect their accounts; that mechanics could find no 
employment ; that real estate was on the decline and loans could 
no longer be obtained; that manufacturing interests could not 
continue to operate to any advantage and that commercial con- 
fidence was fast being lost and general stagnation of business 
threatened. 30 From Ontario county, an agricultural district, 
came the report that produce had fallen in value from twenty- 
five to thirty-three per cent. 31 Like conditions prevailed in 



27 McLaughlin in Popular Science Monthly, July, 1904 ; The Nation, May 27, 
1869. 

28 Senate Delates, 23 Cong., 1 Sess., 1179. 

29 Hid., 23 Cong., 1 Sess., 1722. 
80 Hid., 23 Cong., 1 Sess., 1780. 
31 Ibid., 23 Cong., 1 Sess., 1475. 



[53] 



340 BULLETIN" OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

Pennsylvania. From Lancaster, 32 Murray, 83 Montgomery, 34 
York, 35 Mifflin, 36 Union, 37 and other counties came memorials to 
Congress during the year 1834. 

Among the laboring classes uneasiness was evident but in the 
period of speculation and of inflated wages and values during 
the years immediately preceding 1837, the wage earners seemed 
content. When wages began to decline, however, and the prices 
of living did not decrease in a like proportion, labor troubles 
followed in the larger cities. An example of this is the 'flour 
riot' in New York in 1837. 38 Rents remained high as did prices 
of commodities. Labor was in over-supply and the crowd seek- 
ing employment in the cities seemed constantly to increase. A 
paper of the time commenting upon this increase attributed 
it to the fact that the facilities for securing good educations 
were so liberal and so generally accepted throughout the state — 
New York — and that whenever the younger sons of the farmers 
were qualified to engage in commercial pursuits they almost in- 
variably hastened to the cities in search of employment, there- 
by diminishing the, agricultural class and increasing the labor- 
ing class to the detriment of both. 39 Laborers' wages decreased 
and by 1840 the decrease ranged from twenty-five to thirty- 
three per cent. 40 and conditions seemed not likely to improve. 
Newspapers discussed the situation and some did not hesitate 
to advise every class of laborers to embrace the first opportun- 
ity offered for emigrating to the "West. 41 

Conditions seemed equally unfavorable for the farming class 
and a decrease of the agricultural population took place in many 
of the New York counties. In Dutchess county from 1830 to 
1835 there was a decrease in the population which would have 
been more marked had not the towns of Poughkeepsie and 



32 IMd., 23 Con., 1 Sess., 825. 

33 Ibid., 23 Cong., 1 Sess., 1187. 
si rbid., 23 Cong., 1 Sess., 1803. 

35 House Debates., 23 Cong., 1 Sess., 4188. 

36 Ibid., 23 Cong., 1 Sess., 4039. 
™ Ibid., 23 Cong., 1 Sess., 3642. 

38 Panics in the United States, 20, 

39 Wisconsin Enquirer, June 25, 1842 (from the Albany Daily Advertiser). 

d0 Hazard, United States Commercial and Statistical Register, May 6, 1840. 
41 The New Yorker, April 22, 1837 ; July 21, 1838. 

[54] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 341 

Fishkill each added considerable numbers to their population 
through the development of manufactures. The decrease was 
attributed to "emigration to the West" 42 In Columbia county 
the hard times of 1837 and 1838 were felt and the effects were 
noticeable in the unusual number of business and dwelling 
houses offered for sale. 43 Likewise in Chautauqua, Chenango, 
Genesee, Ontario, Schenectady and Otsego counties either a de- 
crease was noticeable during the years following 1837 or the in- 
creases were very small and these due not to agricultural but 
to urban development. 44 In the case of Chautauqua county, 
especially, there had been, since 1835, a steady decline. 45 

This decrease was not a local thing as the Commercial Ad- 
vertiser^ shows, for in 1840 in more than two hundred towns 
of the state there were fewer farmers than in 1835, due to the 
fact, the writer of the article shows, that it cost more labor than 
formerly to produce agricultural products. "Unless a more 
systematic form of husbandry be adopted" says th<3 writer, 
"the farms of this state will not exceed in price the worn-out 
lands of Maryland and Virginia." Legislative aid was neces- 
sary but was slow in coming. Competition by western produce 
became yearly a more potent factor in driving down prices; 
concentration of property and rapid increase of mortgaged 
lands each lent its aid to increase the existing dissatisfaction 
with the economic situation and consequently to aid the move- 
ment westward. 

To competition, a considerable part of the westward emigra- 
tion may be attributed and for the cause of this rapid increase 
of competition we must look to the Erie canal. While 
the canal was a work as general in its character as any under- 
taking of the kind could well be, it exercised a negative influence 
upon the welfare of farmers living beyond a distance of twenty- 
five or thirty miles from it, and was the means of retarding the 



42 Niles' Register, 49, 226. 

43 History of Columbia, County (N. Y.) 1, 329. 

44 Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, Aug. 19, 1845 : Oct. 10, 1845. 

45 From 1830 to 1835 the increase had been 10,200 ; from 1835 to 1840 it was 
but 2,700 and from 1840 to 1845 there was a decrease (History of Columbia 
County (N. Y.), 1, 345; Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, Oct. 10, 1845. 

46 Aug. 12, 1845. 

[55] 



342 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

advancement of agricultural interests in the northern and 
southern counties of the state 47 In fact it held out induce- 
ments to the farmers in these counties to emigrate. 48 

Prior to the opening of the canal wheat and other grains 
were grown in large quantities in the fertile valleys of New 
York and found profitable markets; but the high prices paid 
in eastern markets rapidly drew western grain eastward when 
facilities for transportation were obtainable. In 1835 when the 
cost of sending wheat from Illinois to New York City averaged 
from twenty-five to thirty cents a bushel 49 the Illinois farmer 
found it profitable and nearly 100,000 bushels besides a consid- 
erable amount of flour passed through the canal from the West 
during the year. 50 Ten years later it cost the Illinois farmer 
but five cents a bushel to send his wheat to Buffalo. 51 The 
effect is seen in the 1,355,000 bushels of wheat, which, with 
717,500 barrels of flour and 3,000,000 pounds of wool, passed 
through the canal from the West during that year. 52 

The competition was too severe for the New York farmers 
and numbers were compelled either to change their industries 
to the more profitable ones of grazing and dairying or to move 
to the cheap lands of the West, where they, too, could take ad- 
vantage of the fertile soil and cheap transportation. The Erie 
canal had been completed at the expense of the tax-payers of 
New York. Now each successive tax levy which was used to 
keep the canal in repair served only to make the taxpayer's 
property decrease in value owing to competition it helped to 
create. The result of the canal policy seems evident — it oper- 
ated against the welfare of the farmers who did not live in di- 
rect contact with the canal and forced them in many cases to 
leave the state in search of more advantageous locations. 

The concentration of property also did its work towards in- 
creasing dissatisfaction and thereby increasing the number of 



47 Wmden, Influence of the Erie Canal (MSS. Thesis, University of Wisconsin, 
1900). 

48 American Railroad Journal and General Advertiser (1845), 58. 

49 Northwestern Gazette and Galena (III.) Advertiser, Aug. 22, 1835. 

50 DeBoxo's Review, 2, 102. 

B1 Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, Aug. 19, 1845. 

^-DeBovc's Review, 2, 102. 



[56] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 343 

emigrants. On account of this concentration of property the 
Anti-Rent troubles broke out among the settlers living along 
the Hudson and Schoharie rivers in eastern New York. Al- 
though the movement was at first of little consequence it in- 
creased in violence, culminating in an outbreak of a serious 
nature which was only subdued by concessions by the land- 
holders. 53 

A like disturbance over the "Genesee Tariff" took place in the 
Holland Purchase in western New York in 1835. The Holland 
Land Company had contracted its unsold lands and lands upon 
which there were outstanding claims and unexpired contracts, to 
two speculators. The new controllers demanded higher rents as 
well as the interest which had accumulated upon certain leases. 
A general uprising of the farmers took place and some lawless 
proceedings were carried on. These incidents are evidences of 
a wide-spread discontent in the agricultural class of the state 
and when coupled with the glowing reports of opportunities 
offered in the West they throw light upon the agricultural 
emigration thither. 

The fever for the establishment of colonies in the "West grew 
constantly during the thirties and forties and beyond a doubt 
some people who under other conditions would have remained 
at home were carried away by enthusiasm for such undertak- 
ings. 54 

From Pennsylvania there came a steady stream of immi- 
grants seeking better homes. In the cities conditions similar 
to those described in New York prevailed for the number of un- 
employed laborers increased and wages decreased after 1837. 
Manufacturers Were not as successful as they wished to be. 
Some blamed the insufficient protection afforded by the tariff, 55 
but undoubtedly the general financial unsteadiness was the 
cause. 



53 Delaware (N. Y) Gazette, Sept., 1874; Delaware (N. Y.) Courier, Jan. 29, 
1864 ; Feb. 5, 1864 ; New York World, Jan. 19, 1880. 

54 Chicago Weekly American, June 20, 1835 ; June 27, 1835 ; July 9, 1836 ; 
"New York Weekly Tribune, Nov. 5, 1842; History of Henry County (111.), 135; 
Edson, History of Chautauqua County (N. Y.), 338 ; Curtiss, Western Portraiture, 
292 ; Thirtieth Anniversary of the Settlement of Geneseo (111.). 

55 Hazard, United States Commercial and Statistical Register, 1, 333. 



[57] 



344 BULLETIN" OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

The farmers, save in the more fertile valleys of the state, were 
not very successful. The soil in the less favored regions was 
"poor and hard to cultivate" and the country "broken and 
hilly. ' ' 56 In the most desirable localities the process of subdivi- 
sion of farms had gone on to such a great extent that by the be- 
ginning of the thirties the farms were exceedingly small, com- 
prising often but ten or twenty acres. 57 The younger genera- 
tion growing up at this time was in need of a place to earn a 
livelihood and some went to the cities, others to the "West. 

Many of the farmers Iwere renters and each year spent as 
much money for rent as would buy a western farm. For a de- 
cade after 1835 Pennsylvania was flooded with circulars describ- 
ing the beauties of the Illinois country, recommending the land 
and offering flattering inducements to settlers. 58 When the less 
prosperous years came the effect of these circulars became 
marked and many took their way westward. By 1850 there 
were nearly 38,000 Pennsylvanians in Illinois alone, but, as the 
movement was a gradual one and due to no exceptional circum- 
stances, the volume at different years is not easily determined. 

From 1830 to 1850 the movement of population in the south- 
ern states was one of decided importance. Before 1850 Virginia 
had lost by emigration twenty-six per cent, of her native-born 
free inhabitants. South Carolina had lost thirty-six per cent, 
and North Carolina, thirty-one per cent. 59 Further exami- 
nation of statistics, will, however show that the movement was 
probably almost entirely within the limits of the planting states 
themselves. From 1831 to 1840 Georgia gained nearly thirty- 
four per cent, in population; Alabama, ninety-one per cent., 
Mississippi, one hundred and seventy-five per cent, and Arkan- 
sas, two hundred and twenty-one per cent. In the next decade, 
While the percentages of increase were lower, the actual gain 
in population in these states was little less than in the preced- 
ing decade and if Texas, which appears for the first time in the 



56 Lothrop, Directory of Champaign County (111.), 118. 

57 Hazard, Register of Pennsylvania, 8, 88. 

58 History of Livingston County (111.), 500. 

59 Abstract of the Seventh Census (1850), 15. 



[58] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 345 

census reports, be included, the increase was nearly 200,000 in 
excess of that of the preceding decade. 60 

Just how large a part of this southern stream came to the 
Northwest is difficult to determine but an examination of county 
histories discloses the fact that during the decade of 1831-1840, 
pioneers from the South and Southwest frequently came to take 
up the woodlands along the Illinois rivers. 

To a combination of causes, we must look for the explanation 
of this migration. The Indian lands of Georgia had been opened 
for settlement and the cultivation of cotton was rapidly in- 
creasing along the 'black belt' of the Gulf States. Moreover, a 
general depression pervaded the older states of the South in the 
thirties, due primarily to agricultural conditions and aggra- 
vated by the general financial embarrassment of the last half 
of the decade. From Maryland, 61 Virginia, 62 and the Caro- 
linas 63 came the cry of ' ' worn-out lands ' ' and general agricultural 
depression. On account of the exhaustive process of the culti- 
vation of the staples, tobacco and cotton, there had been going 
on for years, a steady impoverishment of the land, but while the 
price of cotton kept up it was a profitable industry for the 
planter. A decline in prices, however, set in and following the 
year 1837 there came a crisis in the cotton industry, which 
proved a hard blow to southern interests, for prices fell so low 
that the cultivation of this staple was no longer a paying ven- 
ture. 64 To make matters 'worse, the price of tobacco fell in a 
corresponding degree. 65 

The cause for the ill-success of the agricultural class may be 
seen in the character of the products. As a staple was the 
strength and life of the South so (was it also the weakness. 
In good years when crops flourished, all was well, but in poor 
years when crops failed, disaster followed. Since the rich 
planter class held most of the best lands of the South, the poor 



60 Seventh Census (1850), 4, 5. 

61 Nile* Register, 49, 298. 

62 Martin eau, Society in America, 2, 41. 

63 Niles' Register, 44, 222. 

64 The Agricultural Prospects of South Carolina: Her Resources and Her True 
Policy, in the Southern Quarterly Review, 8, 119. 

65 Niles' Register, 52, 131. 



[59] 



346 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

whites were confined to the less productive portions and from 
this there arose a tendency to move. In the case of the planter, 
the removal came with the wearing out of the old lands ; in the 
case of the poor whites, the removal came whenever an oppor- 
tunity presented itself. 

In the southern mind many of the hardships experienced by 
the people of that section could be attributed to the tariff. 
This view is shown by Mr. Hayne, senator from South Caro- 
lina, who in 1832 presented to the Senate a memorial which 
stated that, ' ' Although other causes have conspired to reduce the 
income of the citizens of the south, yet it is the tariff alone 
which denies them the right of converting that reduced income 
into such an amount of the necessaries and conveniences of life 
as would certainly be at their command under a revenue sys- 
tem of moderate duties . . . ." 66 Charleston is the ex- 
ample cited to show the conditions which prevailed during the 
early thirties. The merchants were bankrupt, the mechanics 
in despair, grass was growing in the streets, houses were falling 
in ruins, real estate was reduced to one-third its true value and 
rents amounted to almost nothing. In the surrounding country 
the fields were abandoned, agriculture drooping and slaves and 
masters working harder than ever and faring worse. 67 Condi- 
tions were not changed in 1837 as a correspondent writes to the 
New York Star. He points out that the business houses were 
failing and loans could be had only at rates ranging from four 
to ten per cent, a month and then only on collateral securities 
in the shape of jewels and other valuables. 68 

In the Southwest conditions were not much better. A me- 
morial from Louisville, presented to the Senate in 1834 says, 
"Had a large invading army passed triumphantly through our 
country, it could not have so completely marred our prosperity. 

. . . The countenances of our citizens are more gloomy 
and desponding than when the dread cholera was amongst 
us." 69 Money here commanded five per cent, a month. 



66 Senate Delates, 22 Cong., 1 Sess., 174. 

67 IUd., 22 Cong., 1 Sess., SO. 

68 Mies' Register, 52, 114. 

69 Refers to the removal of U. S. Bank Deposits. (Senate Delates, 23 
Cong., I. Sess., 719.) 

[60] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 347 

Another cause operated to turn migration northward dur- 
ing this period. It was the influence of the institution of slav- 
ery. Slavery, the emigrants from the South said, had a ten- 
dency to create class distinction to a marked degree and to 
depreciate the effectiveness of free, white labor. As a conse- 
quence immigrants came to Illinois from Virginia, 70 West Vir- 
ginia, 71 Maryland, 72 Georgia, 73 Kentucky, 74 and Tennes- 
see 75 expressly to escape the effects of slavery, which as they 
said, operated against their interests in their native states. In 
all probability this was the greatest influence operating to move 
southern emigrants to northern homes. Free labor in 1832 
received but twelve and one-half cents a day. 76 It was 
unable to compete with slave labor and as a consequence it was 
compelled to withdraw. 

From the states north of the Ohio river, an exceedingly large 
emigration came to the newer states. The causes for this move- 
ment are not clearly defined and much of the emigration can 
probably be attributed to the ever present desire to obtain better 
farming lands. Ohio and Indiana were both good agricultural 
states and owing to the fact that the chief industry was farm- 
ing the revulsion of 1837 did not affect them to such an extent 
as it did the eastern states. 77 Monetary affairs in Ohio got into 
a state of confusion, however, immediately after the panic, for 
the "Three Dollar Law" was passed, by which no bank was 
compelled to accept bills of any other bank for amounts of three 
dollars or less. Considerable trouble was experienced owing 
to this fact and undoubtedly losses resulted to all classes. 
Money brought from ten to fifty per cent, a year, 78 which placed 
it beyond the reach of the average borrower and wrought hard- 
ship upon the well-to-do. 



70 Weekly Chicago Democrat, Feb. 4, 1848. 

71 Ibid. 

72 History of Mercer and Henderson Counties, (111.) 803. 
73 Ferrall, Ramble through the United States (1832), 166. 

74 Recollections of John M. Palmer, 8. 

75 Stuart, Three Years in North America, 2, 235. 

76 House Debates, 22 Cong., I. Sess., 3154. 

77 Greene County Torch Light, (Xenia, O.) Dec. 9, 1859; Ohio Statesman, Dec. 
1889. 

78 Green County (O.) Torch Light, Dec. 9, 1839. 

[61] 



348 



BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 



Indiana had its experience with financial troubles. The in- 
ternal improvement craze which seized upon so many of the 
states before 1840 affected this state also and coupled with dis- 
tress coming from too much banking, trading and speculation 
threw the state deeply into debt. 79 Many left to escape paying 
their debts; some, ruined by paying them, migrated in search 
of other homes where they could begin life anew and build 
up their broken fortunes. Still others seeing the immense debt 
burdening the state and noting the slowness of the return of 
financial solidity, feared an increase of taxes, sold their land 
and moved out of the state to escape the additional burden 
which they expected would be laid upon the people. 

Soils varied greatly in fertility all through the states of the 
old Northwest Territory bordering on the Ohio river. The Wis- 




POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 34& 

consin glacier had moved down over Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, 
leaving a marked effect upon the fertility of the soil over 
which it passed. Just how great this difference was can be 
appreciated only by an examination of the agricultural statistics 
for the two districts. The accompanying sketch 80 shows in a 
general way the glaciated and unglaciated portions of Ohio. 
The portion of the state east of a line drawn through Canton, 
Newark, Lancaster and Chillicothe has not had the benefit of 
glacial action. In this area the streams run in deep narrow 
channels whose valleys are fertile. On the highlands the soil is 
shallow and the average production to the acre, especially in 
wheat, not nearly so great as within the limits of the glaciated 
district, being only as nine is to fourteen. Lacking the depth 
of soil this unglaciated portion wore out rapidly and the crop 
returns diminished each year. The census of 1900 shows that 
on an average the counties inside the moraine produce $5,000 
or more of agricultural products per square mile annually, 
while outside the average production per square mile is between 
$2,500 and $5,000. 81 

By 1850 the difference in the soils Was noticeable. The reports 
of 1850 for eight counties taken along the middle line of the un- 
glaciated part of Ohio show forty-eight and six-tenths per cent, 
of the land under cultivation; while in eleven counties selected 
from those within the limits of the moraine but not bordering 
upon it fifty-seven per cent, of the land was cultivated showing 
that farmers were not inclined to allow good land to lie un- 
cultivated. In the case of dairy products the difference was 
not so noticeable for this industry seemed the best suited to 
southeastern Ohio. 

In land values the difference was still more marked. Outside 
the moraine, land was worth on an average, thirteen dollars and 
seventy-five cents an acre while inside it was valued at more 
than nineteen dollars an acre. In other words, a farm of one 
hundred acres in the glaciated part of the state was as valuable 
as one of one hundred and forty acres in the less favored loca- 
tions. 82 



80 For map see Geological Survey of Ohio (Coilumbns, 1884,) 5, 755. 

81 Twelfth Census (1900) Agriculture, pt. 1, plate 4. 

82 Seventh Census (1850), 862-868. 

[63] 



350 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

Like conditions prevailed in Indiana. The unglaciated part 
of the state lacked fertility and the soil soon wore out. Statistics 
for 1859 collected from eight counties inside the glacial moraine 
and a like number outside of it show that glaciated land was 
valued at twelve dollars and sixty cents per acre, while land not 
glaciated was worth but six dollars and sixty cents per acre — 
little more than half as much. The farms in the central part 
of the state produced on an average fourteen bushels of cereals 
per acre; in the southern part, the average production was less 
than eleven bushels per acre. In units of other produce, the 
difference between the areas was as great; three and three- 
fourths units being the average production per acre for the 
glaciated portion and two and two-tenths units the average 
outside the moraine. 83 

At first glance the differences may not seem marked enough 
to have had any great effect but to the farmer who spent his 
time working earnestly it was disappointing to find that lie 
could raise but half as much produce per acre as his neighbor 
who worked no harder than he and who cultivated no more 
ground. In these relative land values it seems that a cause for 
emigration can be found. 84 

The flood of circulars which came from Illinois in the closing 
years of the forties may have influenced some to move to that 
state. At home, inducements were offered to some farmers to 
move since capitalists found it a paying investment to buy up 
the worn-out farms of southeastern Ohio and by means of fer- 
tilizers to restore the strength of the land. 85 Many took ad- 
vantage oi the opportunity to sell and moved away. 

A general law which seems to have always been fundamental 
in the westward movement was doubtless in operation. Ohio 
and Indiana had been settled with rapidity and had now been in 
the Union for a generation or more; the boys of the younger 



83 Seventh Census (1850), 790-797. 

84 In the selection of examples care has been taken that New England settle- 
ments should not be opposed to the southern settlements thus opposing thrift 
and shiftlessness in agricultural methods. Contrast Von Hoist. Constitutional 
History, 3, 570; Calhoun Papers in American Hist. Ass'n Reports (1898), 
2, 196. 

85 Seventh Annual Report of the Ohio State Board of Agriculture (1852), 408. 

[64] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 351 

generation were growing to manhood and knowing by experi- 
ence the possibilities of the West and the ease with which the 
western land could be procured, and knowing the returns ob- 
tained by ordinary effort were anxious to become land owners. 
The families of these pioneers were large as a rule, so a divi- 
sion of the paternal inheritance could not be thought of by the 
sons and they went out to take up lands for themselves. Travel- 
ing by wagon they soon came to the prairies of Illinois and 
finding the land here exceedingly fertile they were content to 
settle wherever an opportunity, which generally meant timber, 
presented itself. An examination of the nativities of the settlers 
of the eastern Illinois counties will show a great percentage of 
Ohio men and Indiana men, which leads one to believe that 
this immigration was a natural agricultural one produced by 
no special causes save the general desire to obtain better eco- 
nomic conditions. 

From the foregoing causes it seems reasonable to believe that 
the influences bringing about the western expansion in this 
period, were primarily economic. The movement may be 
characterized as an attempt upon the part of the American 
farmer and laborer to Widen his industrial field and to uplift his 
standard of living by taking advantage of the opportunities 
offered in the new West. 



[65] 



352 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 



CHAPTEE IV 



The Way to the West 

Broadly speaking the movement of the pioneers across the 
continent has always been along the lines of least resistance, 
following in a general way the lines of latitude. Illinois is a 
remarkable illustration of the latter tendency. In length the 
state is about four hundred miles and the parallels of latitude 
which mark its northern and southern extremities include all 
those states from northern Massachusetts to southern Virginia. 
In the southern counties of the state a great part of the settlers 
are descendants of the pioneers who came from the southern 
and southwestern states; in the northern and eastern counties 
the settlers, exclusive of foreigners, are principally descended 
from New Engiahders or people from the Middle States. 

In the early pioneer days there were four established lines 
of travel to the West, following trails made by nature. 
Farthest to the north lay the line of the Mohawk valley, after- 
wards to be the path of the Erie canal. Next, to the south, was 
a line of communication which followed the course of the upper 
Potomac and passed through southern Pennsylvania, western 
Maryland and northern Virginia. Still farther south lay the 
roads up the valleys of Virginia opening through the mountain 
gaps into Tennessee and Kentucky, and lastly there were the 
trails leading around the southern extremity of the Appa- 
lachian system and spreading over the G-ulf States. 

To trace out any general line of travel is difficult but it ap- 
pears that there was a tendency for the northern immigrants 
to move towards the Ohio river or the Great Lakes and follow 
these lines westward. This tendency is especially noticeable 
when upon the completion of the Erie Canal the line of water 

[66] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OE ILLINOIS, 1830-50 353 

communication extended unbroken from New York city through 
the Great Lakes. 

Farther to the south it is a still more difficult matter to de- 
termine the location of any general route of travel westward. 
The southerner packed up his household goods, faced the West 
and traveled by the most convenient road. An illustration 
of this characteristic is given in the answer made by a North 
Carolina man who, traveling westward with all "his earthly 
possessions, was asked where he was going. "No where in 
pertick'lar" he answered. "Me and my wife thought we'd 
hunt a place to settle. We've no money, nor no plunder — 
nothin' but just ourselves and this nag — we thought we'd 
try our luck in a new country." 1 The vague desire for 
a change of location is shown here as well as one class of people 
moving from the South in the early decades of the century. 

In order to understand the lines of travel, it is necessary to 
note the convergence of the several minor lines with the great 
trunk lines and also to note the divergence. From Montreal 
and Quebec, which were the landing places of many Europeans 
bound for the Northwest, the St. Lawrence river offered a con- 
venient road. 2 The New Englanders, after the opening of the 
Erie canal, in 1825, if they lived near the Hudson river valley, 
were inclined to travel the nearest road to Albany and proceed 
by water. There was a decided tendency among those living 
within a convenient distance from Boston to go to that city 
and thence to Philadelphia 3 or Baltimore 4 and westward by 
stage, canal and railway to a point upon the Ohio river, gener- 
ally Pittsburg or Wheeling. 

The people of northern and western New York and such other 
parts of the state as were close to the Erie canal generally 
followed it to the Great Lakes and thence westward. 5 Still 
others found it more convenient to go by the southern wagon 
road leading from Kingston on the Hudson through Ithaca and 



1 Chicago Weekly American, June 20, 1835. 
3 Boston Weekly Messenger ; October 14, 1819. 

3 Stories of the Pioneer Mothers of Illinois (MSS. in III. State Historical 
Library). 

* Illinois Monthly Magazine, 2, 52. 

6 Stories of the Pioneer Mothers of Illinois (MSS. in 111. State Hist. Library). 

[67] 



354 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

Bath to the Alleghany river 6 or to Erie (Pa.) and thence south 
to Beaver on the Ohio where they embarked upon rafts or 
steamboats. 

Buffalo was the great port for embarking for the West, and 
so continued after the opening of the steamer lines on the lakes. 
During the year 1834 some 80,000 people were counted leaving 
Buffalo. 7 Eleven years later the number had grown to almost 
98,000. 8 Thousands of the travelers were destined to the ports 
of Detroit, Milwaukee and Chicago; the remainder were for 
intermediate ports, for they did not believe the trip through the 
entire length of the lakes to be the most advantageous. It 
was a common occurrence for immigrants to leave the water 
at Buffalo, or at Erie and then turn south to the Ohio river. 9 
Others went to Cleveland and reached the Ohio by way of the 
Cuyahoga and Scioto rivers. 10 The greater number of settlers 
bound for the states around the upper Lakes went to one of the 
three great ports and found their way to their homes by various 
methods. Some bound for central Illinois left the Lakes at 
Detroit, came over land to the Kankakee river and floated down 
it to the Illinois. 11 

Those migrating from the Middle States turned towards the 
great highways leading from Baltimore and Philadelphia over 
the mountains to Pittsburg or Wheeling. From Philadelphia 
the Columbia railway or the Schuylkill river and Union canal 
connected with the Pennsylvania canal along the Susquehanna 
and Juniata rivers. This route was followed to Hollidaysburg 
where the Portage railway commenced. The railway acted as 
a connecting link between the waterways of eastern and western 
Pennsylvania. Writers and travelers comment upon it as one 
of the wonderful achievements of the age. Jones in his Ill- 
inois and the West (1838) says "the Portage Railroad over the 
Alleghanies is a wonderful work. . . . The road consists 



6 Lloyd-Jones, Routes to Wisconsin (University of Wisconsin MS. Thesis (1902). 
iNiles' Register, 58, 234. 

8 Albach, Annals of the West, 958. 

9 Illinois Monthly Magazine, 2, 53. 

10 Stephen A. Douglas came to Illinois by this road in the early thirties. 
(Proceedings of the III. Ass'n of the Sons of Vermont (1877) 11). 

"Duis, Good Old Times in McLean County (111.), 229. 

[68] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 18.30-50 355 

of five inclined planes on each side of the mountains with their 
levels. The planes are from three-fourths of a mile to a mile 
and a quarter in length and the levels from one to sixteen miles. 
The short levels are furnished 'with horse power and the longer 
ones with locomotives." 12 From 1834 it seems to have been the 
custom to load the canal boats from the eastern side on cars 
furnished for the purpose, transport them over the mountains 
and deposit them in the canal upon the opposite side; 13 from 
this point (Johnstown) the communication by water was un- 
interrupted to the Ohio. Some immigrants came by way of 
Lancaster, Columbia, Chambersburg and Somerset to Pittsburg 
on the Ohio or to Brownsville on the Old National Road. 

Baltimore's connection with the West was by way of the 
National Road from Cumberland on the Potomac. The Chesa- 
peake and Ohio canal leading to Pittsburg and the Baltimore 
and Ohio railroad to Wheeling although primarily planned to 
give Baltimore close connection with the western country had 
been slow in construction. By 1850 the canal was completed 
only to Cumberland on the Potomac 14 and the railroad had 
reached this place but eight years before. The latter, however, 
Was of some importance at least in the conveyance of goods 
to the West, almost 782,000 tons of freight having passed west- 
ward previous to 1851. 15 

From the surrounding country along all the wagon roads, 
came load after load of household goods bound for the various 
Ohio river towns. 16 Hundreds preferred the National Road to 
the Ohio, blocking it up with their caravans. Niles' Register 17 
says "the National Road has the whole season been blocked up 
with movers' wagons and from the representations, people 
enough have changed homes from the east to the west in 1839 to 
add another state to the national constellation had they all lo- 
cated in a single territory." 

12 Jones, Illinois and the West, 16. 

13 Galena Gazette, Dec. 13, 1834 (Extract from the Hollidaysburg (Pa.) 
Aurora) ; Luchsinger, New Glarus, in Wis. Hist. Colls., 12, 354. 

14 Ward, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, in Johns Hopkins University Studies, 17, 
534. ! 

15 Reizenstein, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, in Johns Hopkins University 
Studies, 15, 359. 

16 Wheeling Gazette, Sept. 1, 1832. 

17 Niles' Register, 52, 224. 

[69] 



356 BULLETIN" OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

From the South Atlantic states much the same general course 
was follo'wed. The roads up the Virginia valleys converged at 
the Cumberland Gap, although some movers preferred to travel 
towards the Potomac river striking the Old National Road there. 
Still others followed along the road leading through Char- 
lottesville (Va.), Staunton, Lewisburg and Charlestown to 
Guyandotte on the Ohio. 18 From the Carolinas they followed the 
Yadkin through Wilkesville, thence northward through Ward's 
Gap (Va.) across the valley to the Great Kanahwa; or turning 
southwest from Wilkesville some went through the State Gap 
(N. C.) and found their way to one of the Ohio river towns by 
way of the Cumberland Gap. The roads of South Carolina 
followed the rivers, and converging at the Saluda Gap in the 
Blue Ridge, passed through Asheville (N. C), through the 
Smoky mountains and the Cumberland Gap to Kentucky. 19 As 
a, general rule where there was any tendency to follow a beaten 
line of travel it was towards some point on the Ohio between 
Cincinnati and Louisville. If the whole trip was to be by 
wagon the pioneers generally continued northward across the 
Ohio to Vincennes (Ind.), Terre Haute (Ind.) or Shawnee- 
town (111.) 20 

The great road from southern Kentucky, central Tennessee 
and the Carolinas lay through Christian and Caldwell coun- 
ties in Kentucky crossing the Ohio at Ford's Ferry and pro- 
ceeding along the road through Equality, Mt. Vernon and 
Carlyle. On this road could be seen every conceivable sort of 
'Conveyance from a handsome family carriage to the humblest 
sort of an ox-cart. 21 . 

One more regular route of travel must be noticed. This 
is the Mississippi river. New Orleans was the great port of 
the South and here a considerable number of foreigners landed 
each year. Few of these, it seems, cared to stay in the South 
for the up-stream boats each year brought hundreds of Ger- 
mans, Irish and other foreigners seeking homes in the interior. 22 



18 Peck, Gazetteer of Illinois (1837), 323. 

19 Reminiscences of Levi Coffin, 76. 

20 History of Coles County (III.), 409. 

21 Personal Recollections of John M. Palmer, 11. 

22 E migrants' and Travelers' Guide through the Valley of the Mississippi, 341; 
Madison City Express, April 25, 1844. 

[70] 



POOEEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 357 

The roads taken by the movers from the older states of the 
Northwest Territory cannot be distinctly marked. The pio- 
neers from Ohio living near the great river or its branches took 
advantage of this convenient road. 23 Others living along the 
line of the Old National Road were equally certain to take ad- 
vantage of it. The people of Indiana, being close to Illinois, 
were less likely to follow any one of these routes and it is dif- 
ficult to find information regarding these settlers, other than 
that they generally came in wagons or perhaps, when not in 
possession of many household goods, on foot. 

As there were points for congregation of immigrants, so were 
there points for dispersion. Shawneetown, Yincennes and 
Terre Haute on the eastern border of the state have already 
been mentioned. Detroit, to the northeast, has also been shown 
to be a place from which the pioneers spread over the country, 
some of them reaching northern and central Illinois. On the 
south, beyond the bounds of the state lay another, Louisville, 
from which several roads by land and water presented them- 
selves according to the destination of the traveler. 

St. Louis was the important point for travelers coming by 
way of the Mississippi. From this city nearly every point in 
Illinois could be reached in a reasonably short time since steam- 
boats departed almost daily for all Illinois towns lying along 
the Mississippi, 24 and others plied up and down the Illinois 
river. 25 By 1850 this latter line was increased in importance 
by the opening of the Illinois-Michigan canal which connected 
St. Louis and Chicago by a waterway. In 1831 stage lines also 
led from St. Louis to various settlements throughout Illinois. 
Three times a week the stage left St. Louis for Vincennes, In- 
diana, passing through Belleville, Lebanon, Carlyle, Maysville 
and Laurenceville ; once a week a stage went to Vandalia by 
way of Edwardsville and Greenville and once a week to Galena 
by way of Edwardsville, Springfield and Peoria. 26 



23 History of McLean County (III.), 467. 

^Illinois Monthly Magazine, 2, 54; Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, May 27, 
1846. 

25 la 1836 there were thirty-five steamboats on the Illinois River. {History 
■of Menard and Mason Counties, 501.) 

26 Illinois Monthly Magazine, 2, 54. 



[71] 



358 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

In the extreme northwest corner of the state in the lead re- 
gion lay Galena, the objective point of all immigrants to that 
region in the early days. 27 It was most easily reached by way 
of tfre Mississippi, and in 1822 the "Virginia" on her way to 
Fort Snelling stopped at Galena, being the first steamboat to 
enter the port. 28 By 1846 steamers plied daily between St. 
Louis and this port. 29 As the lead mining industry grew, the 
importance of Galena as a distributing port for the Northwest 
grew also. In 1832, ten years after the coming of the first 
steamboat, one hundred steamboats and seventy keel-boats 
landed there. 30 

During the time of the earlier days in the northwestern part 
of the state before the railroads began to operate, the merchants 
of the section carted their goods overland from Galena, which 
was the most convenient point for receiving supplies from the 
east and south. Here, too, was the market of the farmers, or 
at least the shipping point for markets down the river. So 
intimate was Galena's connection with the South by means of 
the great river, that for years its people were decidedly southern 
in their sympathies as was indicated by the sentiments expressed 
in their newspapers. 

The objective point for immigrants to Illinois after 1834 was 
Chicago, if the journey was made by way of the Great Lakes. 
Frequently, indeed, we find mention of the number of immi- 
grants landing at this point and of the rapidly increasing 
number of vessels employed in transporting these people. In 
1833 four vessels came to Chicago harbor, 31 this number in- 
creased to one hundred and eighty during the next year 32 and 
to over four hundred and fifty in 1836. 33 "Almost all vessels 
from the lower lakes are full of passengers and our streets are 
thronged with wagons loaded with household furniture and the 
implements necessary for farming. Foot-passengers, too, with 



27 Strong, History of Wisconsin Territory, 118. 

2S Galena and its Leadmines, in Harper's Magazine, 32, 693. 

29 Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, May 27, 1846. 

30 History of Jo Daviess County, 257. 

31 Hunt's Merchants' Magazine, 18, 166. 

32 Niles' Register, 47, 55. 

33 Hunt's Merchant Magazine, 18, 166. 

[72] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 359 : 

well-filled sacks on their shoulders come in large numbers." 34 
This was the comment of a Chicago newspaper in 1835. In 
1836 the same paper states that the town "is rapidly filling up 
with strangers." 35 After the financial depression which lasted 
from 1837 to 1842, Chicago again began to feel the westward 
movement, the Chicago Express noting that "the tide of immi- 
gration is gradually setting in again to Illinois." 36 

At a comparatively early date lines of communication were 
established from Chicago to various points in eastern, central 
and northern Illinois. The chief road to the settlements along 
the Vermilion and Wabash rivers was the 'Hubbard Trace.' or 
the 'State Road' leading from Chicago to Danville. 37 In 1836 
a line of wagons, operating between Chicago and the Kankakee 
river was established. From this point connections were made 
with the Illinois river steamboats by means of flat boats. Primarily 
this transportation line was for the benefit of St. Louis and 
Alton merchants who were desirous of receiving their goods by 
way of the lakes. 38 Immigrants, however, took advantage of 
the conveniences offered. Three years later the Frink and Bing- 
ham stage line from Chicago to Galena was in operation adver- 
tising that the entire journey of one hundred and sixty miles 
would be covered by their coaches in two days and that pas- 
sengers would be carried for twelve and one-half dollars per 
head. 39 

It has been indicated that, previous to the beginning of steam 
navigation on the Great Lakes, the amount of travel along this 
highway was limited. After its beginning the number of pas- 
sengers desiring transportation increased with astonishing rap- 
idity. "With the increased demand by immigrants grew the 
number of steamers. In 1833 eleven steamboats carried about 
43,000 movers from Buffalo to the West. 40 In the next year the 
number of boats had grown to eighteen 41 but it was not suffi- 



34 Chicago "Weekly Chronicle, Nov. 21, 1835. 

35 Ibid., June 18, 1836. 

30 Chicago Express, June 27, 1843. 

37 Beckwith, History of Vermillion County, 651. 

38 Northwestern Gazette and Galena Advertiser, Jan. 16, 1836. 
3 " Ibid., Aug. 27, 1839. 

40 MacGregor, Commercial Statistics of America, 675. 

41 Ibid. 

[73] 



360 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

cient to satisfy the demand, for sailing vessels of all descrip- 
tions were used. During the summer season of 1835, it was 
estimated that 1200 people daily left the port of Buffalo bound 
for the far West. 42 The year 1839 saw the establishment of a reg- 
ular line of steamers from Buffalo to Detroit and Chicago. 43 
There were eight boats in this transportation line and they made 
trips from Buffalo to Detroit every sixteen days. Between 
Detroit and Chicago was a line of light boats and by 1847 the 
traffic on the lakes had grown to such an extent that sixty 
steamboats and three hundred and forty vessels of other des- 
criptions were necessary to handle the traffic. 44 

The cost of transportation along this route of travel varied 
considerably as competition became brisk. From Albany to 
Buffalo at the beginning of the period the fare was fifteen dol- 
lars and sixty-two cents 45 by packet. Three years later it had 
dropped to fourteen and one-half dollars 46 and when railroads 
got into running order transportation between these points cost 
eleven dollars by land, and one and one-half cents per mile by 
the canal, meals to be paid for by the travelers. 47 From Buf- 
falo to Chicago by steamboat cost twenty dollars in 1840 ; 48 
fifteen dollars in 1842, 49 twelve dollars in 1847 ; 50 and but ten 
dollars in 1850 ; 51 steerage passage could be obtained for about 
half the above prices. Prices on propellers and schooners 
ranged from four to eight dollars as steerage or cabin passage 
was taken. 52 

Freight rates varied as did the prices of passenger traffic and 
charges were made, sometimes by weight and sometimes by 
barrel bulk. 53 In 1836 the average cost per hundred weight 
from New York to Chicago was one and one-half dollars. 54 In 



42 Chicago Weekly American, July 25, 1835. 

43 Niles' Register, 44, 125. 

44 De Botv's Review, 2, 102. 

43 Illinois Monthly Magazine, 2, 52. 

46 Emigrants' and Travelers' Guide to the Mississippi Valley, 363. 

47 Norris and Gardiner, Illinois Annual Register (1847), 24. 

48 Evanston Historical Society, Proceedings (1902), 3. 

49 Chicago Democrat, April 13, 1842. 

5°Norris and Gardiner, Illinois Annual Register (1847), 24. 

51 Evanston Historical Society, Proceedings (1902), 3. 

52 Norris and Gardiner, Illinois Annual Register (1847), 24. 

53 Albany Cultivator (1841), 8, 53. 

54 Chicago Weekly American, July 9, 1836. 

[74] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 361 

the early forties rates from Buffalo to Chicago were quoted 
at fifty cents per hundred weight on heavy stuff and eighty- 
seven and one-half cents on light stuff, 55 It is evident from 
these classifications of rates that room rather than weight was 
what the shipper paid for. 

The amount of goods each mover brought depended upon his 
financial condition and his inclination to pay freight. Some 
loaded their horses, wagons and all upon the decks of the boats; 
others came with only what they could carry on their shoulders. 
Advice as to what the immigrant should take with him to the 
"West varied greatly. One authority told the travelers that 
they "should not pay freight on horses and cattle or upon 
hogs." 56 Another advised it, saying that the immigrants 
need fear no difficulty in bringing stock -with them as several 
of the masters of boats seemed "to take great interest in the 
shipment of choice stock to the West." 57 It seems probable, 
however, that what stock was brought to Illinois by the settlers 
generally came with those traveling overland. 

Speed of travel increased as did the volume. In 1836, seven- 
teen and one-half days were consumed in making the trip from 
New York to Chicago; 58 by 1840 the distance from Chicago to 
Buffalo had been covered in two days and two nights. 59 Three 
and one-half days for the same trip was the best time made be- 
fore 1850. 60 

The steamers seem to have been regarded as almost perfect 
as is shown by the enthusiastic description of a lake steamer given 
by a Chicago newspaper man in 1841. "It is difficult," he 
says, "to conceive of their superiors whether we regard swift- 
ness or beauty of model. They float upon the water like swans; 
they move through it like its own finny inhabitants. Travelers 
from the South and East are in raptures with them and they 
may well be so. ' ?61 The large boats sometimes carried nine hun- 
dred passengers with their luggage at one trip. Many of these 



55 Chicago Democrat, April 13, 1842. 

56 Marshall, Farmers' and Emigrants' Handbook, 24. 

57 Albany Cultivator (1841), 8, 53. 

58 Chicago Weekly American, July 9, 1836. 

59 Niles' Register, 58, 288. 

60 Chicago Times, Dec. 27, 1841. 

61 Chicago Weekly American, Sept. 6, 1841. 

[75] 



362 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

probably were deck passengers having no more accommodations 
than mere shelter from the weather. Towards the close of the 
forties the railroads which were developing slowly began to 
divert the passenger traffic from the Great Lakes. 62 

Many immigrants landed in Chicago who had not means 
enough to take advantage of the stage lines, nor had they wag- 
ons of their own. The more fortunate, hcVever, possessing 
some funds were often able to make an agreement with one of 
the many farmers hauling produce to Chicago, to transport their 
goods into the interior. In such cases the owners trudged 
along mile after mile to their destinations. The Bishop Hill 
colonists are said to have travelled the entire distance from 
Chicago to Henry county on foot, and some even came from 
New York in the same way. In the summer the roads were 
good but during the spring, before the sun had dried up the 
moisture, they were in wretched condition. 

In early days thousands of settlers had come to the West on 
river steamers. Illinois, although situated in the very heart 
of the interior, has exceptional advantages for navigation. Its 
boundaries measure eleven hundred and sixty miles and more 
than eight hundred and fifty miles of this extent is made up of 
navigable waters. 63 

The first attempt to navigate the western rivers by the aid of 
steam w T as made in 1811 64 and in 1817 the first steamboat to 
touch a port on the Upper Mississippi reached St. Louis. 65 Five 
years later Galena, at the extreme northern limit of the state 
was reached. Previous to 1811 crafts of various descriptions 
had been used in river traffic. Log canoes, pirogues, large 
enough to carry twelve or fifteen barrels of goods, Kentucky 
boats, keel-boats, eighty feet in length with a capacity of one 
hundred barrels, New Orleans boats, capable of transporting 
from four hundred to five hundred barrels at a time, barges, 
with a capacity of 60,000 pounds, and finally great rafts upon 
which whole families together with their household goods, farm- 



62 Evanston Historical Society Proceedings (1902), 3. 

63 North American Review, 51, 113. 
•" Albach, Annals of the West, 853. 

65 History of St. Clair County (111.), 21, in Illinois Local Histories, 12, WisL 
Hist. Society Library. 



[76] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 363 

ing implements and domestic animals floated singly or in groups 
down the Ohio and the Mississippi rivers. 66 Occasionally the 
boats were ''poled" back up the river but the rafts were broken 
up and either used for building the homes of the immigrants 
or were sold. 

The keel-boats were built with the view of protection from the 
Indians as well as for carrying large loads. Loopholes lined 
the heavy wooden upper work of the boats. Partitions formed 
four rooms, — a cabin for the steward, a dining room, a ladies' 
cabin and one for men. In later days stoves were furnished 
and rude berths were constructed along the walls. 67 Generally 
such boats were manned by three hands, one to act as pilot and 
two for rowing. Occasionally some mover, with an idea of les- 
sening labor and increasing speed fitted up a pair of side wheels 
for his boat. These were kept in motion by horses walking in 
a treadmill. Mention is made of such a boat, seventy-five 
tons burden, making the trip all the way from the Muskingum 
in Ohio to Winnebago county, Illinois, in 1839. It carried a 
typical immigrant load, eighteen persons, besides horses, cattle, 
swine, geese, ducks, chickens and farming utensils of all sorts 
from wagons to hoe handles. Beds, bedding, household furniture, 
wearing apparel and a full year's stock of provisions were also 
in the cargo. 68 

Down all the streams which fed the Ohio and especially 
those leading from the lumber district of Pennsylvania and 
New York floated immense rafts of lumber. Often two or three 
were lashed together to make the trip which as a rule occupied 
from three to four weeks. The immigrants in order to make 
themselves as comfortable as possible on the voyage erected rude 
shanties which served for parlor, kitchen, bedroom and store- 
house. Outside on the walls of the cabin could be seen all kinds 
of sporting apparatus, dried meats, and every variety of men's 
and women's wearing apparel. Occasionally a string of drying 
clothes stretched along the raft suggested the dooryard of a 
cabin rather than a floating village. Domestic animals and 



66 See Schultz, Travels, 1, 129-133, for early river navigation ; also Hulburt, 
Historic Highways, 9. 

67 The Americans as They Are, 53. 

68 Miners* Free Press, May 14, 1839. 

[77] 



364 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN" 

poultry mixed with ploughs, wagons and other agricultural im- 
plements took up the remaining room. So equipped, the movers- 
floated down the river and if by good fortune they avoided the 
numerous snags and sandbars, in due time they reached the 
mouth of the Ohio where more strenuous labor commenced, for 
the raft must be "poled" to St. Louis, the distributing point 
of the Upper Mississippi. These rafts were broken up here and 
often brought the owner between five and fifteen thousand dol- 
lars according to the size. 69 

"When in 1811 The Orleans went steaming down the Ohio 
from Pittsburg and when six years later the Washington con- 
vinced a despairing public that steamboat navigation would 
succeed on western waters, the new era in western history 
dawned." 70 In 1830 two hundred and thirty steamboats were 
navigating the Mississippi ; 71 by 1840 the number had increased 
to four hundred and fifty. 72 In 1850 this river commerce was 
valued at $550,000,000. 73 Lines of boats operated on the Wa- 
bash and on the Illinois terminating at St. Louis, also between 
Galena and St. Louis. 

The first steamboats were not well fitted for river navigation. 
The builders had copied the models adapted to deep water 
navigation and as a result nearly all the boats drew too much 
water, becoming useless during the later summer months when 
the rivers were at a low stage. Owing to the patent held by 
Fulton on side-wheel steamers the stern wheel was adopted* 
Since the boats were very light in construction, many accidents 
occurred from 'snags.' Explosions, too, were frequent owing 
to defective boilers and carelessness upon the part of the oper- 
ators. Two or three miles an hour 74 was the average rate of 
speed against the current and in 1820 six or eight miles was 
considered exceptional. 75 

Many were the difficulties encountered by the pioneer steam- 
boats and many were the inconveniences experienced by the trav- 



68 Jones, Illinois and the West, 35 ; Howells, Recollections of Life in Ohio, 85. 

70 Hulburt, Historic Highicays, 9, 101. 

71 Niies' Register, 64, 124. 

72 Memorial of the People of Cincinnati (1844), 13. 

73 De Bow, Industrial Resources, 2, 400. 

74 Howells, Recollections of Life in Ohio, 74. 

76 Emigrants' and Travelers' Guide through the Mississippi Valley, 341. 

[78] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 365 

elers. A voyage up the Mississippi is vividly described, but 
probably in an overdrawn manner, by one who made the trip 
in 1832. "This hour," he says, "you get upon a sand-bank, 
the next you are nearly snagged — driftwood in the river breaks 
^our paddle — the pilot is found to be a toper — the engineer an' 
ignoramus — the steward an economist — the captain a gambler — 
the black fireman insurgent and the deck passenger riotous. 
This moment you have too little steam and hardly advance 
against the current; another, too much and the boat trembles 
with the tremendous force exerted by the power that impels 
her. To complete your dismay the captain agrees to take a 
disabled steamboat, or a couple of heavily laden barges in tow 
for the next four or five hundred miles." 76 

The amount of travel on the large boats was great indeed. 
A boat of five hundred tons often carried one hundred cabin 
passengers and five hundred deck passengers besides four hun- 
dred tons of freight, making it a world in miniature. "In the 
cabin you will find ladies and gentlemen of various claims to 
merit; on the forward part of the boat the sailors, deck-hands 
and those sons of Vulcan — the firemen — possessing striking 
traits of character and full of noise and song and too often of 
whiskey; whilst above in the deck cabin there is everything 
which may be called human — all sorts of men and women, of 
all trades, from all parts of the world, of all possible manners 
and habits. There is the half-horse and half-alligator Ken- 
tucky boatman, swaggering and boasting of his prowess, his 
rifle, his horse and his wife. One is sawing away on his wretched 
old fiddle all day long; another is grinding a knife or razor; 
here is a party playing cards; and in yonder corner is a dance 
to the sound of the Jew 's harp ; whilst a f e'w are trying to de- 
mean themselves soberly by sitting in silence or reading a book. 
But it is almost impossible — the wondrous tale and the horrible 
Indian story are telling; the bottle and the jug are freely cir- 
culating; and the boisterous and deafening laugh is incessantly 
raised, sufficient to banish every vestige of seriousness and 
thought and sense. A friend of mine some time ago went down 
from Cincinnati to New Orleans on board the steamboat 



Latrobe, Rambles in North America, 1, 224. 

[79] 



366 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

* * * which carried fifty cabin passengers; one or two hun- 
dred deck passengers; one negro driver with his gang of ne- 
groes; a part of a company of soldiers; a menagerie of wild 
beasts; a whole circus, and a company of play actors.' ' 77 Ger- 
man and Irish immigrants composed the greater number of the 
deck passengers. Exposed to the inclemencies of the weather 
many of these people were taken ill and on almost every voyage, 
up the river especially from the ports of the extreme south it was 
a common occurrence for some of these immigrants to fall vic- 
tims to exposure. An exceptional case is noted in Niles' Regis- 
ter where on one trip eighteen passengers died from illness con- 
tracted through inadequate accommodations. 78 

The cabin passengers enjoyed more comforts it seems, but ac- 
counts given by travelers are far from agreeing on this point. 
One account says, "the American steamboats are in the point 
of elegance superior to those of other nations, and none but the 
English are able to compete with them. The furniture, car- 
pets, beds, etc., are thought elegant and in good condition. 
.. . . The fare is excellent and the breakfasts, dinners and 
suppers are provided with such a multiplicity of dishes and 
even dainties as would satisfy the most refined appetite. The 
beverage consists of rum, gin, brandy and claret to be taken at 
pleasure during meals ; but out of that time they are to be paid 
for." 79 Still another writer tells of Brussels carpets, chande- 
liers, armchairs, rocking chairs, mirrors and libraries and some- 
times pianos on the Mississippi river boats. 80 Such descriptions, 
however, seem to be a little too brightly colored if we consider 
the impressions of western travelers during the thirties. 
"Happy he whose foresight has secured to him all the enjoy- 
ment of the luxury of his own clean towels as none but the dis- 
agreeable alternative of drying his person by the heat of the 
stove can be the fate of him who has not done this. As to 
making use of the common articles hung up for the accommoda- 
tion of some thirty citizens in rotation no one can be termed 
.. . . delicate for avoiding that," 81 says one. 

77 Emigrants' and Travelers' Guide through the Mississippi Valley, 342. 

78 Niles' Register, 46, 361. 

79 The Americans as They Are, 106. 

80 New York Weekly Tribune, June 17, 1843. 

81 Latrobe, Rambles in North America, 1, 221. 

[80] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 367 

An Illinois river steamboat of 1838 was described in a no less 
slighting manner. "There was but one bedroom candlestick on 
board and this was made with one candle to serve the four 
ladies' state-rooms in turn, one being obliged to go to bed, 
. . . the candle being then passed on to another. . . . 
Of towels also there was but one, which had to go the round 
from cabin to cabin in the same way ; and the whole equipment 
in furniture, fare and attendance was upon the same starved, 
stinted and miserable footing.'" 82 

The rules governing the actions of passengers were printed, 
framed and hung in a conspicuous place. The gentlemen were 
forbidden to go to the table without coats or in any garb which 
would disturb the company, neither should they enter the ladies' 
state-room without the consent of the ladies. Gentlemen were 
not to lie upon the beds with their boots or shoes on; they 
were not to smoke cigars in the state-room; neither were they 
to play cards after ten o'clock, nor at any time engage in con- 
versation with the pilot. Marking on the furniture with a pen- 
cil or anything else which would disfigure it was also mentioned 
among the things not to be indulged in. Any transgression of 
the above named rules was punishable by a fine for the first 
offense; for the second, the transgressor was sent ashore. 83 

In one point discipline seems to have been lax. Gambling on 
board the boats was prevalent to a marked degree. Not only 
did the ordinary passengers indulge, but there were gangs of pro- 
fessional gamblers who infested the principal towns from Pitts- 
burg to New Orleans and constantly traveled up and down the 
river fleecing all whom they were able to entice into games. 84 
Murder, too, seems to have been no uncommon occurence if we 
are to believe the current statements. 83 

In 1831 a passage from Beaver, Pennsylvania to Cincinnati, 
by steamboat was twelve dollars; to Louisville, sixteen dollars; 
to Shawneetown, twenty-two dollars and to St. Louis, thirty-one 
dollars. From Philadelphia to St. Louis by stage and steam- 



82 Buckingham, Eastern and Western States of America, 3, 207. 

83 The Americans as They Are, 106 ; Steele, A Summer Journey in the West, 155. 

84 Emigrants' and Travelers' Guide Through the Mississippi Valley, 343. 
* 5 Mies' Register, 54, 388. 

6 [811 



368 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

boat the cost, including meals, was about fifty-five dollars ; from 
New Orleans to St. Louis, thirty dollars; from St. Louis to 
Beardstown on the Illinois river, six dollars; to Quincy, six 
dollars and to Galena, twelve dollars. Deck passage was much 
cheaper. From Beaver to Louisville cost four dollars; from 
Louisville to St. Louis, three dollars; from New Orleans to St. 
Louis, eight dollars and from St. Louis to Quincy and Galena 
two dollars and three dollars respectively. 86 

Prices were gradually lowered. By 1834 a traveler could 
procure cabin passage from New Orleans to Pittsburg for be- 
tween thirty-five and forty-five dollars and deck passage for be- 
tween ten and twelve dollars. 87 In 1837 the "Western Trans- 
portation Line operating between Philadelphia and St. Louis 
by way of Pittsburg, Cincinnati and Louisville charged the fol- 
lowing rates: To Pittsburg cost six dollars and the time for 
the trip was six and one-half days ; to Cincinnati, eight and one- 
half dollars, time eight and one-half days; to Louisville, nine 
dollars, time nine and one-half days and to St. Louis, a distance 
of seventeen hundred and fifty miles, the cost was thirteen dol- 
lars and the time of travel, fourteen days. Packets which re- 
duced the time cost more. The company charged seventeen 
dollars to Cincinnati, nineteen dollars to Louisville and twenty- 
seven dollars to St. Louis. 88 

After 1840 from New York to Cincinnati cost only twelve 
dollars; to Louisville, thirteen dollars; to St. Louis, fourteen 
dollars and to Galena, sixteen dollars. 89 Meals were not in- 
cluded. Their average cost was thirty-seven and one-half cents 
each. 90 Stage travel cost six cents per mile. 91 Deviations from 
these prices were often made when a party consisting of a large 
family or number of families desired passage to one place. 92 

The rates for the transportation of goods were in accordance 
with prices of travel. Sixty-two and one-half cents per hun- 



86 Illinois Monthly Magazine, 2, 52. 

87 Emigrants' and Travelers' Guide through the Mississippi Valley, 341. 

88 Illinois in 1837, 67. 

89 Kapp, European Emigration to the United States, 70. 

90 Mitchell, Sketchbook of Illinois, 27. 
81 Ibid. 

92 Niles' Register, 48, 242. 

[82] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 369 

dred weight was the customary charge from New Orleans to St. 
Louis; to Cincinnati it was about seventy cents and to Pitts- 
burg between seventy-five cents and one dollar. Down stream 
charges were less; thirty cents per hundred weight for dry 
goods was the cost from Pittsburg to Cincinnati ; three and one- 
half dollars per ton for iron goods for the same destination. 9 * 
To other points proportionate charges were made. 

The Ohio river route was one of the great highways to the 
"West during the period 1830 to 1850. Some idea of the volume 
of travel down this river may be had by an examination of the 
newspapers published in the towns along the river. The Cin- 
cinnati Mirror of September 6, 1834 says: "We are so com- 
pletely overrun by emigrants or movers with carriages, wagons, 
cattle, horses, dogs and sheep that we are compelled to speak. 
Our streets are a moving mass of living men, women, children 
and everything joyously wending their way to their new habi- 
tations." During the next decade the tide had in nowise dimin- 
ished. "The number of emigrants who have left this city," 
says the Cincinnati Gazette, "for the northern part of Illinois 
and Iowa Territory by the way of St. Louis, as we are informed 
by the officers of the boats, has been unusually large this season. 
Boats leave our landing almost daily, crowded with substantial 
emigrants from the back country with their live stock and farm- 
ing apparatus bent upon seeking their fortunes in the "West." 94 

In the thirties the guide books published for the use of im- 
migrants to the West frequently advised those intending to 
move to do so in wagons. The expense was less than by other 
methods. Live stock could be moved with less difficulty and if 
occasion required the lighter goods only would be taken in 
wagons and the heavier and bulkier farming implements sent 
over the Lakes or down the Ohio. Sometimes furniture was 
sent from New England all the way to Illinois by water, going 
down the coast, around by New Orleans and up the Mississippi. 95 
In these cases someone generally made the trip that 'way ta 
look after the goods. 



93 Emigrants' and Travelers' Guide Through the Mississippi Valley, 357. 
si Cincinnati Gazette, April 21, 1842. 

95 Stories of the Pioneer Mothers of Illinois. (Mrs. Julia Wolcott Carter' 
Btory. M88. in Illinois Historical Library.) 

[83] 



370 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

Prior to 1830 the ox-cart was much used for transportation 
by those taking land routes to the West. These carts were not 
built for rapid transit but rather for capacity. A yoke of oxen 
hauling an enormous load generally lounged onward at the rate 
of one and one-half miles an hour. After 1830 wagons began to 
be seen in greater numbers and in the autumn months when 
the weather was mild, the roads dry and hard and the rivers 
fordable, after the crops of the year had been gathered and 
sold, and when the cattle were fat and in good traveling condi- 
tion, wagon after wagon, caravan after caravan could be seen 
rattling along the roads to the West. 

All along the highways of travel the newspapers made occa- 
sional note of parties of more than ordinary size. From these 
articles we are best able to gain an idea of the volume of west- 
ward travel by means of land conveyances. "On the 27th ult., 
quite a caravan of the hardy sons of Pennsylvania passed 
through this city on their way to Stephenson county, Illinois. 
There were fourteen wagons and sixty-one persons." 96 Again, 
"on Thursday the 15th inst., about one hundred and fifty per- 
sons passed through this place southward, emigrating to Illinois 
or perhaps to Missouri. They had their plunder in twenty-two 
or twenty-three wagons." 97 One man traveling through In- 
diana towards Vincennes counted four hundred emigrants' 
wagons within a distance of fifty-five miles. 98 The Wheeling 
Times in 1839 speaks of the unprecedented amount of travel by 
wagons passing through the town. 99 Numerous other news- 
paper extracts to the same effect can be found. It seems prob- 
able that those people living at any great distance from the 
great waterways used wagons in traveling westward. This is 
especially true among the farmers. There is, ho ! wever, no way 
of determining what percentage used this method of travel in 
preference to the water routes. 

The vehicles were of every kind; sometimes no vehicle was 
used, for many a man traveled the whole way from the East on 



96 Madison Express, July 27, 1843. (Extract from the Michigan City Gazette.) 
» T Chicago Weekly Democrat, June 18, 1834. 
»s Mies' Register, 47, 163. 
"Madison Enquirer, June 8, 1839. 



[84] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 371 

foot. "Sometimes the light wagons containing the possessions 
of the movers were drawn by the people themselves, the head of 
the family between the shafts of the wagon, harnessed with a 
collar and traces, while the rest of the family according to their 
strength pulled with ropes attached to various parts of the ve- 
hicle. 100 

The pioneers from Pennsylvania, Ohio and the southern 
states betrayed their nativity and prejudice in the schooner- 
shaped wagon box, the stiff tongue, the hind wheels double the 
size of the forward ones and closely coupled together, the whole 
drawn by a team of four or six horses guided by a single line 
in the hands of the teamster riding the nigh wheeler. The har- 
ness was of gigantic proportions; the massive leather breeching, 
the heavy harness and collar, the immense housing of bearskin 
upon the harness, the heavy iron trace chains, and the ponder- 
ous double-tree and whiffle-trees all made a striking picture. 

The New Yorker and immigrant from farther east, was 
marked as far as his caravan could be seen by a long coupled, 
low boxed, two horse wagon provided with a seat, from which 
with double lines the driver guided his lightly harnessed pair 
of horses. 101 Occasionally the old 'steamboat' wagons were 
seen, bearing some resemblance to the crooked, heavy wagons 
used by the people from the southern states. 

The contents of the immigrant wagons were astonishing in- 
deed in amount as well as variety of articles. A glance under 
the canvas covering disclosed a startling array of baggage — if 
"women, guns, rifles, boys, girls, babies and other nick-nacks" 102 
may be called baggage. Below on the axles of the wagons 
dangled pots and kettles of all forms and sizes. Sometimes 
dogs and even cats were included among the movables of the 
immigrating families. To the Yankee mover, a plough, a bed, a 
barrel of salt meat, a supply of tea and molasses, a Bible and a 
wife were the indispensable articles. 103 

In front of these westward moving caravans rode the older 



100 Niles' Register, 22, 320. 

101 History of Grundy County (III.), 149. 

102 Nile* Register, 52, 240. 

103 Chevalier, Society, Manners and Politics in the United States, 112. 



[85] 



372 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

sons and sometimes the daughters. Their duties were chiefly to 
attend to the driving of such domestic animals as had been 
brought along. Sometimes a considerable amount of live stock 
was driven along by the movers — one family came with five 
hundred sheep, another man drove one hundred and fifty hogs 
but as a general rule a few horses and cows, several sheep and 
hogs made up the wealth of the pioneer. 

Mr. Howells in his book on pioneer life in Ohio gives an amus- 
ing description of the difficulties experienced in driving the 
domestic animals — "to start off \vith a mixed drove of animals 
was no trifling affair, for, though they would drive pretty well 
after getting used to the road and a day or two's experience, their 
obstinacy and contrarity at first was without parallel, and a 
boy to each animal was little enough. First a pig would dart 
back and run like a deer till he was headed and turned, by which 
time the others would meet him and all have to be driven up ; 
while in the meantime a cow or two would be sailing down a by- 
lane with elevated head and tail, and a breathless boy circling 
through a field or the woods to intercept her career; and then 
the sheep Would start over a broken piece of fence, the last fol- 
lowing the first and leaping higher over every obstacle till they 
were brought back to the road. ' ' 104r It was not an uncommon oc- 
currence, too, for the horses to be seized with sudden homesick- 
ness during the night and depart for more familiar scenes. 

Excessively warm weather and numerous flies sometimes so 
worried immigrants that they resorted to night traveling, 105 
being unable to make progress during the day. When the 
movers traveled in the day time their nights were passed in 
camp. If a number of families were traveling together, when 
night came the wagons were grouped in a neighborly fashion 
in a convenient spot where water and wood were close at hand. 
The fire was lighted and the camp utensils brought into use 
in the preparation of supper while the men unharnessed the 
dusty horses and turned them loose on the rich unfenced 
prairie pastures. The scores of happy children liberated 



1<H Howells, Recollections of Life in Ohio, 87. 

105 History of Bond and Montgomery Counties, 328. 



[86 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 373 

from the tiresome day's journey romped through the grass en- 
joying to their greatest capacity an unlimited play ground. 
Beds were made up in the wagons and sometimes on the ground 
when the weather permitted. In the morning the bustle of 
preparation began, the stock was rounded up and started along 
the road, horses harnessed and soon the work of another day 
had begun. 

The progress of such caravans was not rapid, being about 
fifteen miles a day. 106 From the eastern states seven 107 to 
nine 108 weeks were consumed in making the trip to Ill- 
inois. Sometimes heavy roads made the journey even more 
difficult. The colony which settled at Geneseo, Illinois in 1836, 
came along a road through Michigan which was so nearly im- 
passable that but seven miles were covered in six days. 109 

It is scarcely possible to make any estimate of value concern- 
ing the cost of the overland travel. The equipments of the 
pioneers, the amount of stock and the cost of tavern meals 
varied greatly. Occasionally a scrap of information is found 
which will serve as an illustration. A family of eleven persons 
with two wagons, several cows' and five hundred sheep came 
a distance of two hundred and fifty miles to Illinois, in twenty- 
one days at a cost of ten dollars spent for food. 110 

In the extreme western states taverns for the accommodation 
of travelers were not numerous. Good houses of entertainment 
were not to be found at all and such taverns as there 'were did 
not receive much patronage from the immigrants who generally 
brought all their supplies with them. Tavern prices were regu- 
lated by the county commissioners court. Meals cost from 
twenty-five to thirty-seven and one-half cents; lodging, twelve 
and one-half cents a night. Horses were cared for at a rate 
of fifty to seventy-five cents a day. 111 The people 'who fre- 
quented these taverns were of all classes and stations but the 



106 History of Grundy County (III.), 314. 

107 Beckwith, History of Vermilion County (111.), 3S1. 

108 Thirtieth Anniversary of the Settlement of Geneseo (111.), 5 

109 Ibid. 

U0 Duis, Good old Times in McLean County, 217. 

111 Bent, History of Whiteside County (111.), 57; Perrin, History of Effingham 
County (111.), 40. 



[87] 



374 BULLETIN Or THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN" 

predominance of hunters and small farmers gave marked 
frontier characteristics to them. 

Since the early settlers of the state came from all directions 
in all sorts of conveyances, at all times of the year, with vary- 
ing amounts of property and at costs varying as greatly as the 
conveyances used and the roads traveled, it is extremely diffi- 
cult to draw any conclusions save very general ones. One, 
however, may be reached. The settlers who located in southern 
and western Illinois generally came by way of the Ohio and 
Mississippi rivers; those 'who settled in the northern part of 
the state, by Way of the Great Lakes; while the majority of 
the pioneers of eastern Illinois came by wagons over no beaten 
road. The migration to this part of the state is illustrative 
of the simple agricultural immigration which goes on steadily 
and so quietly as to attract little direct attention and con- 
sequently is to be characterized with difficulty. 



[88] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 375 



CHAPTER V 

The Illinois and the Fox River Valleys 



Owing to the conditions which influenced the time as well as 
the character and rapidity of settlement of this part of the 
state, the Illinois river valley is divided into three parts: the 
counties along the middle Illinois, those along the upper Illinois 
and those in the Fox river valley. 1 The counties of the middle 
Illinois river valley were settled to quite an extent under the 
influence of the Sangamon country and much earlier than the 
northern counties, both Tazewell and Putnam counties having 
organized local governments before 1830. In the upper Illinois 
river counties the influence of the Illinois-Michigan canal is 
noticeable both in the character and location of settlement. 
Likewise the influence of lake transportation was of much im- 
portance in the settlement of the Fox river valley. 

Although the Sangamon country was quite thickly settled 
by 1830, Mason county, joining it on the north, had but few 
settlers and not until 1841 was it organized as a county. During 
the period 1821-1825 the county was surveyed and the land 
opened for settlement; but owing to the fact that it was re- 
garded for years as a sandy, barren waste fit only for the 
abode of hunters and others who did not depend on agriculture 
for a living, few pioneers came to settle here, preferring instead 
to go further to' wards the frontier. 2 



1 The middle Illinois counties are those on the eastern side of the river north 
of the Sangamon river ; Mason, Tazewell, Woodford, Marshall and Putnam. 
Those on the western side are included in the Military Tract. La Salle, Grundy 
and Will counties are grouped under the head of upper Illinois river counties, 
while in the Fox river valley are the counties of Kendall, Du Page, Kane, Mc- 
Henry and Lake. 

2 History cf Menard and Mason counties, 408. 



89] 



376 



BULLETIN" OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 




Cities of more than 2. 
Towns of less than 2 
Villages. 



000. 
,000. 



Illinois and Fox Rivee Valleys (1850) 

Section west of the prairie line is more than 20 per cent, woodland. Year indi- 
cates date of county organization. 



[90] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 377 

Havana, dating" from 1832, seems to have been the most im- 
portant settlement of early days. Its growth must have been 
very slow, since six years elapsed before the building of the 
first house. 3 After 1834 groups of Canadians 4 and Germans 5 
settled here, who, by 1850 formed a large part of the settlement 
which was still the most important one in the county. In other 
parts settlements grew no faster until after 1840. 6 

The character of the settlements sho'ws the influence of loca- 
tion. An examination of nativities brings out the fact that 
the greater number of the early settlers came from Kentucky, 
Tennessee and Virginia, although New England and the Middle 
Atlantic States had numerous representatives. There were also 
settlers who came from Indiana and from the older counties 
of Illinois. Of the foreigners present, Germans were in the 
majority. The timbered parts of the county were taken up 
first by the Kentuckians and Tennesseeans and when, during 
the period of speculation just previous to the financial panic 
of 1837, the New Englanders and the settlers from the Middle 
States came, they were compelled to take up the unoccupied ter- 
ritory which generally meant the small prairies. More rapid 
growth took place during the forties and in 1850 there were 
5,900 settlers in the county. 7 

Tazewell county which was organized in 1827, 8 had 4,700 
settlers by 1830, 9 most of them being pioneers of the type most 
frequently found in the hardwood districts of the middle West. 
While immigrants came in steadily during these years, it was 
after 1830 that the most rapid increase came. 

In 1836 Tremont in the central part of the county was es- 
tablished by a New England colony. Jones in his Illinois and 
the West (1838) gives a decidedly favorable description of the 
town, saying that it was beautifully laid off with wide streets 
and a public square around which were arranged the business 



3 Ibid., 520. 
^Ibid., 411. 
*Ibid., 509. 

6 Bath, Mason City, Allen's Grove, Crane Creek and other places each claimed 
a few settlers. 

7 Seventh Censws (1850), 702. 

8 Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, 355. 
• Seventh Census (1850), 702. 



[91] 



378 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

houses. The frame houses which composed most of the dwel- 
lings of the town were painted White, giving the village a very- 
neat appearance. Three-fourths of the population were New 
Englanders, which probably accounts for the orderly appear- 
ance of the village. 10 

A colony of importance was established in 1837 at Delavan 
in the southern part of the county, being the result of the ef- 
forts of a company of enterprising Rhode Island farmers. Like 
other companies of the time it was a stock company with a 
capital of $44,000. An agent sent to Illinois purchased 
23,000 acres of land for the company and, to the great surprise 
of all, located the tract upon the open prairie, at that time an 
unheard of proceeding. Not a bush or a tree was in sight but 
nevertheless the proprietors seemed well satisfied with the choice 
and families immediately began to come in. 

For a time they were lodged in the common home Which was 
the first building erected in the town of Delavan. The erection 
of such houses seems to have been a rule among the companies 
sending colonies to the West and probably the idea was to guard 
against discouragement of the new settlers and • alleviate the 
hardships attendant upon the opening up of a new country. 
When the settlers were desirous of making homes for them- 
selves at the earliest possible date such an arrangement certainly 
must have been advantageous, but should any be inclined to 
live at the company's expense this convenience must have been 
abused. No time limit appears to have been placed upon the 
stay in the common home but probably such a safe-guard was 
provided. 

One point of the contract signed by the members of the com- 
pany deserves mention as something out of the ordinary. No 
ardent spirits were ever to be brought into the town and sold 
or used as drink. 11 This clause also appears in the laws of the 
Eockwell colony in La Salle county. 12 

Still another colony was founded in Tazewell at this time, 
at Mackinaw on the south side of the Mackinaw stream. As 



10 Jones, Illinois and the West, 72. 

11 The New Yorker, Aug. 31, 1839. 

12 Ibid., Aug. 20. 1836. 



[92] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OE ILLINOIS, 1830-50 379 

in the case of the Delavan colony, a common house was first 
erected and in 1838 was occupied by several families who were 
waiting for the completion of their homes. 13 

"Washington, in the northern part of the county and Pekin 
on the Illinois river were the other important villages in 1840, 
the latter being a typical western town, with flouring mills, 
saw mills and pork packing industry. To some extent it was 
the point of contact between the back country and the outer 
world, gaining by advantage of location such commerce as the 
demands of the settlers increased. Other settlements brought up 
the number of inhabitants to 7,200 in 1840. 14 

During the early years of the succeeding decade the increase 
in population was slow, owing to financial depression, but after 
1845 the number of settlers coming to the county gradually in- 
creased. The number of southern immigrants decreased and 
that of northerners increased but the growth of population was 
not rapid, probably on account of the opening to settlement of 
the northern and eastern counties of the state. The gain in 
population had been about 4,000 since 1840 and the county now 
had a population of over 12,000, 15 with three towns, Pekin, 
Tremont and Washington of some importance. 

Judging from the small number of towns and from the fact 
that but one, Pekin, had over a thousand inhabitants it seems 
safe to conclude that the population was an agricultural one. 
Small streams with timbered banks traversed the county, of- 
fering an ideal country for the agricultural pioneers who, by 
1850, had placed under cultivation almost 73,000 acres of the 
land. There still remained uncultivated some 92,000 acres, 
nearly all of which was back from the rivers, away from the 
timber. 16 

Settlers began to come to Woodford county in 1819 and by 
1830 some forty-five arrivals, chiefly from Kentucky, Tennessee, 
Ohio and Indiana had been received. In 1832, owing to the 
Indian troubles, Woodford did not increase rapidly, since the 
county was on the extreme frontier and not well protected 



13 Western Pioneer } May 18, 1838. 

14 Seventh Census (1850), 702. 

15 Seventh Census (1850), 702. 

is Peyton, Statistical Vieic of Illinois, 13. 

[93] 



380 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVEKSITY OF WISCONSIN 

against Indian raids. Up to 1850 Metamora was the most im- 
portant settlement. In 1835 a company of settlers from Han- 
over, New Hampshire, had settled here giving the name Hanover 
to their village. They were as welcome to the Kentuckians then 
living in the county "as a band of Hottentots.'' In 1843 the 
village became the county seat and the name was changed to 
Metamora. In this year the first store was built. 17 

The settlements in the county during the period from 1831 
to 1850 were numerous but small, composed of little groups of 
settlers who built their cabins on the edge of the timber and 
enclosed enough prairie land for cultivation. The eastern part 
or the prairie district of the county was not settled for several 
years after 1850 and then only by the aid of the railroads, 18 
and it is safe to say that of the 36,000 acres of land under 
cultivation in 1850 19 the greater portion was in the western 
part of the county near the river. 

In character of its settlers, Woodford county was typical of 
the counties of the Middle Illinois Valley. Almost before the 
Kentuckians and Tennesseeans were comfortably settled upon 
their little farms on the borders of the timber lands Virginians, 
Carolinians, New Yorkers, Pennsylvanians and others were 
crowding in also. Men of all classes, nationalities and stations 
met here. There were men who had been with Napoleon at 
Austerlitz; who had followed him on his ill-fated Russian ex- 
pedition; exiled Poles; Bavarians; men who had sat in the 
legislatures of conservative New England ; abolitionists from the 
same section and slaves from the south. Half the states of the 
Union were represented here and many foreign countries. 20 

Since 1829 settlers had occupied Marshall county. Lacon, on 
the Illinois river served as the shipping point for the farmers 
and bade fair to become one of the most important of the towns 
along the Illinois river. The site was purchased by a company 
of Ohio men in 1831 and the to'wn of Columbia laid out. Dur- 
ing the next few years quite a number of settlers came from 



17 History of Woodford County, 238 ff. 

18 History of Woodford County, 400. 

19 Teyton, Statistical View of Illinois, 13. 
'^History of Woodford County, 227-235. 



[94] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 381 

Ohio, and the village grew until 1837. 21 In the western part 
of the county, Henry was the most important settlement. Its 
growth is illustrative of that of many of the settlements of 
Illinois during this period. Founded in the early forties when 
the state was in its financial difficulties, growth was slow until 
after 1845 when better times came; by 1853 the population 
numbered over one thousand. 22 

Among the settlements proposed in the period before the 
panic, few grew into realities. Lyons, Dorchester, Auburn, 
Centerville, Troy City and Chambersburg were all laid out 
during the period of speculation, but these ventures like many 
others of the time failed to fulfill expectations, and farms took 
the places of the proposed cities. For a time the town of Web- 
ster was a thriving settlement but it was later abandoned owing 
to the unhealthfulness of the location. 

Although Kentuckians and Tennesseans were first in the 
groves of Marshall county, 23 Ohio and New York had a num- 
ber of representatives, while the name Yankee Street denoted 
the presence of New Englanders. In 1850 nearly 5,200 set- 
tlers 24 were in the county and since but 36,000 acres of land 
were cultivated 25 it seems reasonable to assume that little of 
the prairie was taken up excepting along its edges. 

Putnam county which was organized in 1825 had in 1830 
about 700 inhabitants. 26 In 1850 there were but 3,900. 27 Hen- 
nepin, the county seat and only settlement receiving recogni- 
tion in the Federal census of 1850, dates from 1829. In 1831 
the town lots of Hennepin were advertised in the Springfield, 
Galena and Terre Haute papers but growth was slow, for eleven 
families composed the population in 1833, 28 and in 1850 there 
were but four hundred and thirty settlers here. 29 Granville, 
Florid and Mt. Palatine were the chief villages But important 



21 Ford, History of Putnam and Marshall Counties, 106. 

22 Ibid., 113. 

23 IUd., 142. 

24 Seventh Census (1850), 702. 

25 Peyton, Statistical View of Illinois, 13. 

26 Ford, History of Putnam and Marshall Counties, 29. 

27 Seventh Census (1850), 702. 

28 Ford, History of Putnam and Marshall Counties, 87. 

29 Seventh Census (1850), 714. 



[95] 



382 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

only in showing the tendency of the early settlers to locate 
near lines of communication. In the last case the tendency is 
especially noticeable for the village attained what little import- 
ance it enjoyed from its location on the Peoria- Ottawa state 
road. Northern pioneers were the most numerous in this county 
and of the New Englanders present Massachusetts furnished the 
greatest number. 30 

In closing the discussion of this part of the state it may be 
said that these counties along with those across the river, show 
themselves to be border counties, the meeting place of the 
hunter-pioneer and the farmer types of settlers. Following 
the results of experience gathered by generations of pioneers, 
the Kentuckians and Tennesseeans clung to the timber land and 
consequently advanced a considerable distance up the Illinois 
river toward the northern part of the state. Close on their 
heels through the lower counties, were the New Englanders 
and New Yorkers, and in the upper counties of the region, 
when the settlements were not well established and were com- 
paratively wide-spread, we see the northern element taking 
the lead in numbers. An examination of county histories will 
show that in Mason and Tazewell counties, the great majority 
of pioneers were southern men, in Woodford the percentage 
was not so great, in Marshall, still less, and in Putnam, the 
northern county, the southern pioneer was an exception. 

The reason seems evident since the locality was quite distant 
from the influence of those southern communities below the 
Sangamon river. Moreover, as the Kentuckian moved farther 
and farther northward the Yankees became more and more 
numerous much to his disapproval. Settlers from New Eng- 
land and New York had begun to swarm in during the thirties 
and taking up the unoccupied timber land, the frontier-loving 
southerner could no longer find country wild enough and far 
enough removed from the limits of civilization to make an ideal 
frontier. 

Here was the beginning of the conflict between the hunter- 
pioneer of the South and the agricultural pioneer of the North. 
The hunter needed the woodlands for a field from which to 



30 Illinois in 1837, 100. 

[96] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 383 

gain his livelihood; he needed the game which lived within its 
limits and he needed little land for agriculture. His progress 
northward so far had been carried on with comparative speed 
owing to the fact that he met little opposition from any other 
type of frontiersman. In the southern counties, being first 
upon the scene, he took up the timber land at his leisure, cleared 
his plot of ground and lived a life 'which satisfied him. The 
New Englander and the man from the Middle States, arriving 
somewhat later, took what was left and occasionally it was 
the prairie land, as seen in the instance of the Tremont settle- 
ment in Tazewell county. So far the hunter was firmly es- 
tablished in his native region, the woodland, and was slowly 
undergoing the transition from hunter to farmer. 

The stream of settlers coming to the northern counties was 
different in character. There was no desire among these pio- 
neers to use the timber lands for hunting purposes but rather 
for an aid in conquering the prairies. Faster and faster these 
farmers poured into Illinois by the lake route. They filled up 
the timber quickly and soon began to experiment with the 
prairies. Weight of numbers and unity of purpose combined to 
check the advance of the southern man, who, upon finding the 
groves claimed, was compelled to look elsewhere for his kind of 
country. 

The population of the counties in this district amounted to 
31,500 in 1850, the greater part having come in the decade 
1841-1850 after the end of the financial depression. 31 Havana, 
Pekin, Lacon and Hennepin were the chief towns, each one 
situated on the Illinois river and deriving its importance from 
its location on the common line of communication with the 
older settlements of the south. Of the 500,000 acres of land in 
this district 220,000 were under cultivation. 32 

Few settlers had come to the counties of the upper Illinois 
valley before the Black Hawk War, La Salle county, which 
was organized in 1831 being the only one with many settlers. 
Beginnings of settlement were made at Ottawa in 1823 but the 
Indian outbreak of 1832 put a stop to its growth. The Yankee 



31 Seventh Censtis (1850), 701, 702. 

32 Peyton, Statistical View of Illinois, 13. 

7 [97] 



384 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OE WISCONSIN 

settlement at Hickory Grove was the largest one in Will county 
and this with Ottawa, was the only one in this part of Illinois, 
strong enough to exist through the Indian War. 

Some experiments in establishing colonies were tried here 
but met with little success. The Rockwell colony, based upon 
the principle of exclusion of intoxicating liquors, was an in- 
teresting but unsuccessful New England experiment. 33 In 1830 
a colony of young men from Northampton, Massachusetts, de- 
siring to obtain a suitable site for a settlement, sent commis- 
sioners to the state to make a selection of lands. Influenced by 
the fertility of the soil, by the reported existence of immense 
coal beds and by the proposed canal and railroad communica- 
tions, the committee fixed upon La Salle as the most advanta- 
geous location. Several settlers came during the year, a cabin 
was erected upon the site of La Salle town, but owing to the 
inclement weather the greater number of the new settlers moved 
away. 34 

The Black Hawk War effectually put a stop to settlement in 
these counties for the space of a year, driving the greater part 
of the settlers back upon the stronger settlements in the south 
and practically checking the spread of the hunter-pioneer class 
long enough to allow the swarms of New Bnglanders and New 
Yorkers to gain possession of the northern part of the state and 
successfully exclude the southern men. 

From the end of this war until the financial crash of 1837 
there was a decidedly rapid growth of population along the 
Illinois river. The Illinois and Michigan canal from Chicago 
to the Illinois river, was to connect with the latter somewhere 
in La Salle county. Settlers flocked in hoping to obtain lands 
on or near the proposed line. When the land sales were made 
in 1835, however, the speculators present took the lion's share, 
leaving but a small portion for the actual settlers. During the 
following year came the greatest immigration of the period. 
Ground was broken for the canal, July 4, 1836, and the begin- 



23 The Neio Yorker, Avg. 20, 1S36. 

31 Past and Present of LaSalle County, 187 ; History of LaSalle County, 296. 



[98 



P00LEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 3S5 

ning of active operations no doubt tended to increase greatly 
the crowd of new comers. 35 

Ottawa was still the chief town of La Salle county, having a 
population of seven or eight hundred, most of whom were 
" Yankees — a shrewd, selfish, enterprising, cow-milking set of 
men." 36 A few stores, frame houses and Kentucky log cabins 
composed the settlement. 37 Peru, a few miles farther down the 
river, had sprung into existence shortly after the Black Hawk 
War. The growth which took place soon after it was laid out 
in 1834 was due to the fact that work on the canal and rail- 
roads began soon after. 38 

The arrival, at this time, of the first band of Scandinavians 
was an event of some importance in the settlement of this part 
of Illinois. From New York they followed the easiest and most 
natural route to the state along the line of the Great Lakes. The 
arrival of these foreigners gave a forecast of the influence 
which the northern line of transportation was to have upon 
the character of the settlements in these counties, for soon there 
was to be a great throng of foreigners poured through the 
Chicago gateway upon the prairies. 

In Grundy county, a fringe of settlers established themselves 
along the canal, but the spread of settlement was seriously in- 
terfered with by the operations of land speculators who pro- 
ceeded to buy up the lands back from the squatters' claims 
bordering the canal. Advanced prices forced the later settlers 
to look elsewhere for homes and as a consequence the develop- 
ment of the county was not rapid. Its chief settlement, Kan- 
kakee City, was the outgrowth of the speculation of the times 
and is a good example of the mushroom type of cities. In its 
best days the population numbered seventy-five; lots were sold 
in New York and Chicago for thousands of dollars, but the 
city fell with the crash of 1837, and today the site of the once 
promising Kankakee City is a farm. 39 



35 Past and Present of LaSalle County, 194. 

36 The Chicago Weekly American, Feb. 4, 1837. 

37 The New Yorker, June 10, 1S37. 

38 Past and Present of LaSalle County, 306. 

39 History of Grundy County, 319. 



99] 



886 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

: For two or three years following the eventful 1832, few set- 
tlers came to Will county, but the land sale at Chicago in June, 
1835, brought many immigrants. Farmers, speculators and 
city promoters, jostled each other in their attempts to acquire 
the more desirable portions. Those wishing land for homes 
were, owing to a lack of ready money, not so fortunate in ob- 
taining large quantities of ground as was the class of specula- 
tors which took up section after section, and platted town after 
town, some of which were never to know an existence. Pal- 
myra, "Williamsburg, Middletown, Vienna, Carlyle, West Lock- 
port, New Rochester, Buffalo and Lurenbergh were all laid 
out but were soon abandoned. 40 

All efforts at town-making were, however, not futile, and 
where towns were not attempted, the little clusters of farm houses 
clinging to the timber showed a steady advance in the numbers 
of settlers and by 1836 the population was great enough to 
warrant the formation of a new county. 41 New Englanders 
and New Yorkers, traveling westward over the lakes either to 
Chicago or Detroit and from there by land, found their way 
to Will county, founding Plainfield, Lockport, Joliet and other 
places. A group of Ohioans, more venturesome than their 
neighbors, or from necessity, at this time dared the prairie and 
took up their abode in the eastern part of the county at Monee. 42 

Lockport for a time seemed to offer the greatest possibilities 
for growth. Anticipating its importance, settlers congregated 
here, believing that its situation on the Illinois-Michigan canal 
assured its success as a city. Gradually it grew in importance 
and when the canal was opened in 1848 it became a shipping 
point for the farmers of the surrounding country who were 
eager to dispose of their surplus products in the most advan- 
tageous markets. 43 Joliet, which in 1835 was but a small vil- 
lage, increased in size during the succeeding years and was, in 
1837, the largest town in the county. 44 



40 Woodruff, Joliet and Will County Forty Years Ago, 33. 

41 Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, 589. 

42 History of Will County, 567. 

43 History of Will County, 432. 

44 Illinois in 1837, 123, gives the population as six hundred hut the estimate 
must he taken with caution, as the book is not entirely reliable. 



[100] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 387 

The period 1832-1837 while one of beginnings was also one 
of rapid growth. Fear of the Indians had at last been removed, 
new lands had been opened up and work on the canal begun. 
Steam navigation on the lakes was rapidly attaining great di- 
mensions, which, with the influences previously mentioned and 
the almost universal desire for speculation in lands and prop- 
erty, tended to make this period one of exceedingly great im- 
portance in the settlement of this part of the state. Besides 
the villages of Peru, Ottawa, Plainneld, Lockport and Joliet, 
numbers of smaller ones had been made and hundreds of solid 
New Englanders and New Yorkers had already established 
themselves in the most desirable portions of the counties. 

The bursting of the bubble of speculation in 1837 put a stop 
to settlement for a time, however, and those parts of the state 
dependent upon the advance of work on the canal for their 
own increasing importance, felt a severe shock when, owing to 
financial embarrassment, work on the system of internal im- 
provements was, for the time, abandoned. Farm products de- 
clined greatly in value but even in the face of this many of 
those employed on the canal turned their efforts to farming 
when operations on the canal ceased. 

During the early years of the financial crisis the effect was 
not so noticeable as it was in later years. The Rockwell Land 
Company of Norwich, Connecticut, which had for several years 
been interested in La Salle county lands sent one hundred colo- 
nists to the county in 1837-38. The settlement gave promises for 
the future but sickness among the settlers soon caused its de- 
population. At one time it contained some two hundred in- 
habitants. 45 

From the time La Salle was laid out in 1837 until work on 
the canal and railroad ceased in 1841 there was a period of ac- 
tivity and rapid growth, but decline began in 1840. 46 Immigra- 
tion practically ceased and in 1843 La Salle had only about one 
hundred inhabitants. 47 Ottawa, the only town not showing 
the effects of the cessation of work on the canal, grew apace and 



45 Past and present of LaBalle County, 296. 

46 Ibid., 297. 
"Ibid., 301. 



[101] 



388 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

from 1837 to 1840 doubled its population, becoming the most 
important city in that portion of the state. One thousand in- 
habitants, exclusive of canal laborers, composed its population. 
New Yorkers and New Englanders were present in the greatest 
numbers with a smaller representation from Pennsylvania, Ohio, 
Kentucky and other western states. 

In Joliet especially it is said that the people suffered actual 
hardships during this period of financial trouble. The same 
is true of Loekport which, as has been said, seemed to give 
promise of becoming a prosperous town. Wheatland, settled by 
a number of Vermonters who made the journey overland from 
their native state, was the only new settlement of note es- 
tablished during the period. 

By 1842 the financial aspect of the state began to brighten 
and immigration to increase. By 1846 repudiation was no 
longer thought of, confidence had increased to such a degree 
that immigrants to the West gladly settled in Illinois instead 
of turning to the north or going still farther to the west. From 
this point the future of the state was assured and when work 
was again resumed on the canal and the railroad, the surround- 
ing country began a most rapid development. 

The following period, 1843 to 1850, was one of gradual re- 
vival. Little by little the tide of immigration increased and 
with the increase came the necessity of conquering the prob- 
lems of the prairie. Step by step the pioneers advanced into 
the open until the smaller spaces between the lines of timber 
were entirely taken up. By 1850 about eighty per cent, of the 
land of La Salle county was under cultivation; forty-five per 
eent. in Grundy county and a somewhat smaller portion in 
Will county owing to its more extensive prairies. 48 

Most important of the settlements along the upper Illinois 
was Peru which, owing to its advantageous position on the line 
of water communication with the Great Lakes by means of the 
Illinois river and the canal, and its communication assured with 
the northern and central portions of the state by railway, had 



« Seventh Census (1850), 728. 



[102 



POOLET SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 389 

become a town of 3,000 people -who were at the close of our 
period taking steps to procure a city government. 49 

La Salle, in a way, illustrated the type of western towns of 
the time. Its two hundred inhabitants were, according to ac- 
counts, of none too good a class. One traveler says that upon 
inquiry at one or two of the stores he "ascertained that there 
were Christians in the place." 50 The two Ottawas which had 
a combined population of over 3,200 people 51 were described 
by the same author as making "a beautiful and flourishing 
village . . . laid out and built with considerable taste 
and beauty." 51 It probably derived its neatness from the New 
England population which was in the majority here. Streator 
and Mendota, today towns of considerable size, were as yet 
not thought of, needing the railroads to call them into exis- 
tence. 

Will county in 1850 had 16,700 inhabitants and Joliet, the 
county town, had a population of 2,659. 53 In its growth of bus- 
iness and development of industries, we see the influence of the 
shrewd New Englander and New Yorker. Mills and quarries 
were in successful operation, fifty stores supplied the wants of 
the townspeople and of the farmers of the surrounding country, 
while the moral, religious and intellectual welfare of the com- 
munity lacked nothing in the way of churches, schools and 
newspapers. 

Norwegians, "Pennsylvania Dutch" and thrifty German 
farmers now came in numbers and added their stolid industry 
to the shrewd, sharp methods of the New Englander, each in 
his respective way adding to his own welfare and to the wealth 
of the country. The foreign population, however, did not be- 
come of much importance until after 1845. 

An examination of the nativities of the pioneers who came to 
this part of Illinois before 1850 shows the influence of location 
upon the character of the settlements. Closely connected by 



49 Past and Present of LaSalle County, 309. 

50 Curtiss, Western Portraiture, 312. 

51 Seventh Census (1850), 710. 

52 Curtiss, Western Portraiture. 68. 

53 Seventh Census (1850), 710. 

r io3 1 



390 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

the Illinois river, with the settlements of the southern and cen- 
tral parts of the state it is natural to expect the presence of 
southern settlers in these counties. But they appear here only in 
very small numbers, being entirely outnumbered by the New Eng- 
enders and New Yorkers who came by way of the Great Lakes. 
The pioneers of Grundy county came principally from south- 
ern Ohio with a number from the southern and eastern states. 5 * 
Most of the families had been pioneers in older settlements in 
the states from which they came, and, having been trained on 
the frontier, regarded it as the most attractive home. During 
the last years of the forties Norwegians began to come in chiefly 
from La Salle county. They were soon joined by others. In 
Will and LaSalle counties the scarcity of settlers from the south- 
ern states is plainly noticeable. 55 

The statistics given show more plainly than before the in- 
fluence of lines of communication. The New Englanders and 
New Yorkers were farther removed from this part of Illinois 
than were the Kentuckians and Tennesseeans or their neigh- 
bors of southern Illinois. Steam navigation, however, tended 
towards the annihilation of distance and the Great Lakes offering 
the highway to the fertile Illinois lands played by far the most 
important part in fixing the characteristics of this northern 
settlement. 

It must be noticed also where these pioneers settled. The 
wide bottom lands of the larger Illinois rivers, which, from un- 
healthfulness and liability to spring overflows, had kept the set- 



54 History of Grundy County, 148. 

55 Three hundred biographies of Will County pioneers were examined with 
the following results : one hundred and sixty came from the Middle Atlantic 
states, and of the e one hundred and thirty-six were New Yorkers ; forty came 
from New England ; seventy-five from foreign lands, one-third of the foreigners 
being Germans ; sixteen were from the western states ; six from the southern 
states and but three from Kentucky and Tennessee {History of Will County, 
659-906). Eight hundred biographies of early settlers of LaSalle county were 
examined. Three hundred and sixteen came from New York, Pennsylvania 
and New Jersey ; New York sent two hundred and twenty ; two hundred and 
eight came from New England ; one hundred from Ohio ; one hundred from foreign 
lands ; thirty from the South Atlantic and Gulf states and but eighteen from 
Kentucky and Tennessee (Baldwin, History of LaSalle County, 225-483). 
Combining the statistics noted it is found that over forty-three per cent, of 
these pioneers came from the middle Atlantic states ; twenty-two per cent, from 
the New England states ; a little more than three per cent, from the southern 
Etates and but two per cent, from Kentucky and Tennessee. 

[104] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OP ILLINOIS, 1830-50 391 

tiers back from their immediate vicinities in the south, were un- 
known in the north. The rivers were smaller, swifter and, 
while they overflowed their banks in some instances, the 
overflows did not remain for any length of time, consequently 
there was not the possibility of unhealthful locations near by. 
The towns as well as the earliest farms of this section of the 
state, were close to the rivers, a thing not true along the south- 
ern rivers save in exceptional cases. 

Chicago's influence upon the growth of settlement is marked. 
As an agricultural country is one of the necessities for a city's 
growth, so is a market one of the requisites for the de- 
velopment of an agricultural district. In Chicago these north- 
eastern counties found both a market and a supply depot, and 
before the coming of the railroads made transportation easy 
from all parts of the state it must be noticed that the develop- 
ment was greatest in those counties near Chicago or near the 
proposed Illinois-Michigan canal line. Numerous smaller 
towns sprang up, Peru, Ottawa, La Salle, Aurora and Joliet, all 
upon the rivers, thus showing the instinctive desire the pio- 
neers had for communication with the outside world. These 
places hardly reached the city stage before 1850, for their abil- 
ity to dispose of agricultural supplies and to act as supply de- 
pots was limited owing directly to imperfect communication; 
The railroads came later and solved the problem. 

In the Fox river valley, Kendall and Du Page counties were 
the only ones which had settlements before the Black Hawk 
War. Naper's settlement in Du Page county was the only im- 
portant one and numbered one hundred and eighty souls in 
1832. 56 McHenry and Lake counties were not opened to set- 
tlers at this date. By a treaty in 1833 the Chippewas, Ottawas 
and Pottowatomies ceded the last of their lands in Illinois and 
while these lands were not opened to settlers until 1836, a few 
pioneers had taken up claims in this part of the state before 
that date. 57 

With the close of the Black Hawk War the pioneers ventured 



56 Richmond and Vallette, History of Du Page County, 6. 

67 Eighteenth Annual Report of the American Bureau of Ethnology (1896-97), 
2, 750. 

[105] 



392 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

farther north along the river and all through the years 1834, 
1835 and 1836 the immigrants poured into the state, animated 
by hopes of sudden wealth. All the timber land in Du Page 
county was claimed by 1835 but for several years, in spite of 
the rapid immigration, few houses could be found away from 
the timber. Naperville, advantageously situated on the road 
from Ottawa to Chicago, was the most important town for a 
time and its two taverns did a rushing business during the 
period when land speculators thronged the neighborhood and 
later when the farmers carted their surplus products to Chi- 
cago. 

By 1834 the line of settlements had reached Kane comity and 
cabins dotted the banks of the Fox river for miles, collecting 
here and there into little villages where advantages were of- 
fered. St. Charles, Elgin and Aurora sprang up along the 
Fox in the course of a few years. 

Aurora was located because the river at this point seemed to 
offer some advantages of water power and by 1836 the settle- 
ment had all the requirements of a thriving frontier village. 
Even the panic of 1837 had no noticeable effect upon its steady 
development, for unlike many of the early Illinois towns, Au- 
rora was built upon a solid basis rather than upon imaginary 
prospects. Elgin was also located upon the Fox river in 1835, 
the location being selected on account of water power. 58 

St. Charles, a small settlement on the Fox between Aurora 
and Elgin, lays claim to notice in this period through the class 
of its settlers. In 1834 a colony of Virginians with over two 
hundred head of live stock emigrated to this place. It seems 
an exceptional case, for seldom indeed were southerners found 
in this part of the state. During the same year another colony, 
this time from New Brunswick, was added to the community. 59 

In spite of the fact that settlers were forbidden by the Fed- 
eral government to reside in the recently ceded Indian lands of 
Lake and McHenry counties until 1836, several claims were 
made in Lake county on the Aux Plaines river in 1834. 60 Little 



58 History of the City of Elgin, 3 ; in Illinois Local Histories, 2, Wisconsin 
Historical Society Library. 

59 Past and Present of Kane County, 329, 331. 

60 History of Lake County, 220. 

[106 1 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 393 

settlement was made, however, until 1836, for the summer of 
1835 was exceedingly cold and many who came with the inten- 
tion of settling here were induced to move farther towards the 
interior. 61 By 1837 there were probably three hundred people 
within the county limits. 62 

The same conditions prevailed in McHenry county and the 
population before 1836 consisted of a few squatters. Besides 
the New Englanders who seem to have predominated there were 
some Virginians and foreigners. 63 

The period 1837-43 was one of slow growth. Kendall and 
Du Page counties were organized but neither had many set- 
tlers. McHenry and Lake counties grew slowly in population 
and especially in the size of their towns. Since these counties 
were agricultural districts and had no markets in the immed- 
iate vicinity there was no tendency towards concentration of 
population. 

During the remainder of the period until 1850 the develop- 
ment is hard to trace, save in Kane county, where, owing to 
water facilities, concentration took place to a greater extent 
than in the other counties. The advancement which had been 
made in population was accompanied by a like advancement in 
the standard of living among the pioneers, for the farms at the 
close of the period had the appearance of being well cultivated 
and the log houses of the preceding decade had, in most cases, 
given way to neater frame ones, prettily painted and well fur- 
nished. 64 The timber lands slowly disappeared and were sup- 
planted by the orchards of the thrifty New Englander or Ger- 
man. Schools were to be found in every village. 

Elgin and Waukegan were towns of considerable importance 
and each owed its growth to a different cause. Elgin was 
primarily a manufacturing town, ranking well up as such 
among the towns of the state in 1850. In addition to this fact 
it could be called a railroad town also, for it was in 1850 the 
terminus of the first railroad of northern Illinois, which was 



61 Kingston, Early Western Daps, 338, in Wis. Hist. Colls., 7. 

62 History of McHenry County, 166. 

63 Ibid., passim. 

«* Prairie Farmer, 7, 298. 



107] 



394 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

in time to develop into a part of the Chicago and Northwestern 
system. 

Waukegan, with a population of 3,000 in 1850, 65 had shown 
a surprising growth. The back country was an agricultural 
one and since settlement was going on rapidly, lumber and mer- 
chandise were necessities. Waukegan had a good port and be- 
ing closer to the settlers of these counties, than was Chicago, it 
naturally became the landing place for the lumber used in the 
back country and to this rapidly increasing trade the growth of 
Waukegan may be attributed. 66 The development of the rail- 
roads later acted as a detriment to the city when they diverted 
the trade of this rapidly growing district towards Chicago. 67 
Aside from Waukegan there was no town of any importance in 
either Lake or McHenry county. 

From all portions of the nation the settlers came. After the 
Southerners who trailed the army pursuing Black Hawk north- 
ward, there came a swarm of Yankees from Boston, from the Con- 
necticut valley, from the Berkshire Hills, from New Hampshire, 
from Vermont and from Rhode Island. These were joined by New 
Yorkers from the Genesee Valley, from Otsego, Syracuse, Utica, 
Plattsburg, Oneida, Orange, Tompkins, Washington and Che- 
mung counties, and to these were added Scotch, Irish, "Penn- 
sylvania Dutch," Welsh, French, Scandinavians, Germans and 
even negroes. 68 The men from the northern states predominated 
and everywhere the fine appearance of the farms and dwellings 
denoted the thrift, comfort and wealth of the careful New York 
and New England farmers. 

Viewing the field as a whole, noticeable results appear. In 
1830 there were some 6,000 people in the counties treated in this 
chapter. By 1840 there were almost 46,000 and in 1850 the 



65 Seventh Census (1850), 710. 

66 In 1845 one hundred and ninety boats landed at Waukegan ; in 1850 the- 
number had risen to 1095. In 1846 there were 1,500,000 feet of lumber brought 
to the port and in 1850 the lumber trade amounted to 1,500,000 feet. (Haines,. 
History of Lake County f 103-108.) 

67 The importance of the trade may be judged from the development in popula- 
tion, the increase in the two counties for the decade 1841-50 being almost 24,000. 
Seventh Census (1850), 702. 

08 A summary based upon an examination of the biographies given in the 
county histories. 



[108 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 395 

number had reached 132,000. Settlement took place most rap- 
idly in the northern counties during the decade 1841-1850, these 
-counties gaining more than twice as many settlers during the 
decade as did the five counties in the Middle Illinois valley. 69 
The influence of lines of transportation is plainly seen in the 
•characteristics of the northern settlements. Slowly the hunter- 
pioneer of the south had worked his way through the timber 
lands of the Illinois Valley until the Black Hawk War had 
stopped his progress. When quiet again reigned along the 
frontier line the pioneer returned to his work of conquest but 
too late, for before he could regain lost ground the development 
of steam navigation upon the lakes had opened the way for the 
New York and New England farmers and they were busy in the 
woodlands coveted by the Kentuckians and Tennesseeans. In 
the struggle between the two classes of pioneers for the posses- 
sion of northern Illinois, numbers and speed of communication 
had weight and the methods employed by the pioneer of the 
earlier years gave way before the influence of steam, and the 
hunter-pioneer was forced to leave this section of the country 
and seek a home elsewhere. His work, however, had been ac- 
complished, for these hardy hunters had, by following the line 
of the Illinois river, cut the great prairie almost in two and had 
given the agricultural pioneer a basis upon which he could 
work when he grappled with the problems of the prairies. 

While the agricultural population was much in excess of the 
urban population there were in 1850 several towns of consider- 
able importance in the valley. Peru and Ottawa each had 
3,000 settlers, Joliet and Waukegan had 2,500 each, Elgin and 
St. Charles more than 2,000 each, while Naperville and Pekin 
had somewhere between 1,600 and 1,700 each. Several others 
had less. In each case favorable locations upon the Illinois river 
or upon roads leading to Chicago explain the growth of the 
cities; some were located on account of the presence of water- 
power, others to become a point of contact between an agricul- 
tural back country and the markets so much needed. 



69 From 1841 to 1850 the five counties of the middle Illinois Valley gained 
20,300 settlers; the three counties of the upper Illinois gained 18,000 and the 
Jfive Fox river counties gained 47,700. (Seventh Census (1850), 701-702.) 

[109] 



396 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

^ 



North e. 



HENRY 

1855 t 

?/v LBne or Mt(LiT*\n r 



New Boatc 



Oqua\ 



^i 

£* 



r 



HANC 




IcDONCU^H 

1626 



y BlMl 

163! 



3£T. 



Galesbwrg 

* KNOX 

1825 




'FULTON 
1623 



LewiWen© 



'Quipcy 




X. 



©Mt.-Ste) 

6R0WN 



PtKE 



"Pittefiel 



© Cities over 2,500. 

<§) Cities over 1,000. 

oName Towns below 1,000. 

• Villages. 






The Military Tract (1850) 

Curved line sbows the limits of the prairie ; less than 20 per cent, woodland. 
Tear indicates date of county organization. 



[110] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 397 



CHAPTEE VI 

The Military Tract 



The Military Tract includes most of that portion of the 
state lying between the Illinois and Mississippi rivers, south of 
Rock Island county. This territory, which had been set aside by 
the Federal government for the veterans of the War of 1812, con- 
tains thirteen entire counties and parts of three others, in all 
more than 5,000,000 acres, not far from the area of the state of 
Massachusetts. 1 

Many grants were made but few were actually settled upon 
by the grantees. Fearing the toils of pioneer life or lacking 
a definite knowledge of the value of the lands ceded, many 
sold their grants, (one hundred and sixty acres each) for nomi- 
nal sums, considering themselves fortunate when able to con- 
vert what seemed visionary wealth into actual wealth, even 
though it was no more than a cow or a horse. 2 

However, the people who resided in Illinois at the time were 
well aware of the value of the land and proceeded to "squat" 
upon it, since they were unable to get any valid title to it, not 
knowing the actual owners. Cultivation by the squatters fol- 
lowed and often trouble came also. Land sharks, ever on the 
lookout for bargains, watched the increasing value of the 
farms, hunted up the original owners, bought their claims and 
returned to Illinois to oust the occupants and profit by their 
improvements. Forged titles resulted and with these came al- 
most endless chains of entanglements and litigation. 



1 See Van Zandt, A full description . of tlie Military Lands ~betxoeen 
the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers (Washington, 1818). 

2 History of Ftdton County, 191 ; J. Flint, Letters from America, 187 (Thwaites 
Ed.), says, shares sold even so low as half a dollar per acre. 



[in] 



398 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN' 

By 1831 eleven counties had been organized 3 and the popu- 
lation of the entire Tract numbered over 12,000 people, five- 
sixths of whom were living in the southern part in the counties 
of Calhoun, Pike, Adams, Schuyler and Fulton. 4 

The first successful settlement in the Military Tract and the 
only one before 1820 was at Peoria. During the French regime 
Peoria had acted as a connecting link between the French on 
the lakes and those on the Mississippi but, having caused the 
Americans no little worry during the "War of 1812 it was de- 
stroyed. At that date the village was a small one. 5 Ft. Clark 
was erected here in 1813 6 and in 1819 the permanent American 
occupation began, the earliest settlers coming from southern 
Illinois. 7 There were several other settlements in the county 
by 1830 but of no great importance. 8 

Calhoun county at the extreme southern end of the Tract, 
was never, during the entire period, thickly settled. 9 The lum- 
bering industry in which most of the settlers were interested 
tended to make the population an unstable one. Here we see 
an example of settlement which is an exception to the general 
rule. Primarily the population was one aiming to exploit the 
lumbering resources of the district but there was also a farmer 
class. On the Illinois prairie which extends along the foot of 
the bluffs of the Illinois river was the farming district of the 
county. The land was fertile and the * bottom' was high 
enough above the river to escape flooding which in many locali- 
ties compelled the early settlers to leave the cultivation of the 
most fertile parts of the state until later and to take possession 
of the higher wooded portions first, being careful to remain 
as near as possible to the rivers in order to profit by transporta- 
tion facilities which they offered. 



3 The counties organized were Calhoun, Pike, Adams, Hancock, Mercer, Schuy- 
ler, Fulton, Peoria, McDonough, Warren and Knox. 
* Seventh Census (1850), 701-702. 

5 There were sixteen men in the village." (Ballance, History of Peoria, 18.) 
G Life of Gurdon S. Hubbard, 28. 

7 Ballance, History of Peoria, 45. 

8 Settlements were made at Chillicothe, Logan, Medina, Trivoli and there was 
•also a colony of Ohioans in Halleck township. (History of Peoria County, 577, 
591, 604, 606, 618.) 

9 In 1830 there were over 1,000 settlers in the county and in 1850 the popula- 
tion was a little over 3,000. (Seventh Census (1850), 701.) 

[112 1 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 399 

Pike county, which received its first settlers in' 1820 had a 
population of 2,400 in 1830. 10 The county extends the entire 
distance between the Illinois and Mississippi rivers in the vicin- 
ity of which the land is broken and covered to quite an extent 
with timber. Between the great river systems are rolling 
prairies traversed by creeks whose banks are lined with timber 
making the district one admirably fitted for meeting the desires 
of the pioneers. The county consequently filled up rapidly 
after its first settlement in 1820 and in 1850 had a population 
of 18,800 people. 11 

Schuyler county which until 1839 included Brown county, 
was in 1830 the most thickly settled county of the Military 
Tract, having nearly 3,000 settlers. 12 The pioneers even at this 
early day were gathered from many parts of the country. The 
first settler was a New Englander who was soon followed by 
a colony from Kentucky. Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, 
the- Carolinas, Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri and Illinois 
each' contributed settlers early. 13 The settlements were small 
and were generally placed back at some distance from the river. 
Nearly twenty townships had received settlers before 1830. 14 

Fulton county was organized in 1823 15 having been cut off 
from Pike county. Lewiston and Canton were the chief settle- 
ments in 1830, the former becoming the county town. 

While the large river forming the eastern boundry of these 
counties was the highway for communication with the rest of 
the country, the first settlers did not congregate here. A few 
grouped themselves near the river to take advantage of what 
little commerce there was, but as a rule the settlers, being inter- 
ested in agriculture, preferred to leave the river bottoms of 
the large streams and take the timber land along the smaller 
ones, for the small prairies adjoining relieved the pioneers of 



10 Seventh Census (1850), 70?. 

11 Ibid., 702. 
™Ibid., 702. 

13 History of Schuyler and Brown Counties. 58, ff. 

14 History of Schuyler and Brown Counties, 267-373. 

15 The county was supposed to have had three hundred and fifty voters at 
the time of organization but at an election held that year only thirty-five votes 
were cast (History of Fulton County, 214). 



8 [113 



400 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

the labor of making clearings. Moreover, the high ground back 
from the rivers seemed more healthful, for in the bottoms fever 
and ague were enemies greatly feared. 16 

Of those counties bordering on the Mississippi river Adams 
and Hancock were the most thickly settled. The first settlers 
came to Adams county in 1820, and in 1825, when the county 
was organized, forty votes were cast at the first election. Owing 
to the scarcity of money and to the fact that the lands were 
not yet on the market immigration to this county was slow. 
Quincy, the largest settlement and the seat of county govern- 
ment, was first settled in 1822 and by 1830 had two hundred in- 
habitants. 17 Various other smaller settlements brought the total 
population of the county up to about 2,200. 18 The names 1 Adams 
and Quincy both given in honor of John Quincy Adams, seem 
to imply the presence of New Englanders in the county at the 
time of organization but the nativities of the early pioneers show 
a majority of people from other sections of the country and 
especially from Kentucky. 

Hancock county also on the Mississippi river had but five 
hundred inhabitants, 19 Venus, later to be known as Nauvoo, be- 
ing the chief town. 20 A settlement which had been made at 
Oquawka landing on the Mississippi river in 1828 was the only 
one in Henderson county in 1830. 21 In Mercer county, New 
Boston and Keithsburg were the places first settled. Here some 
Pennsylvanians established themselves in 1827 and earned a 
livelihood by cutting wood for Mississippi river steamboats. 
For five years they remained but at the first Indian alarm they 
left for central Illinois and Mercer county was again without 
inhabitants. 22 

What has been said concerning the location of the settlements 
in the counties along the Illinois river will apply equally well 



16 By consulting a map of Illinois it will be noted that tine early settlements 
of Canton, Lewiston, Rushville, Rip'.ey, Cooperstown, Mt. Sterling, Versailles 
and others are all placed hack a few miles from the Illinois river. 

17 History of Adams County, 259-268 ; Asbury, Quincy, 41. 

18 Seventh Census (1850), 701. 

19 Ibid., 701. 

20 The National Calendar (1830), 249. 

21 History of Mercer and Henderson Counties, 869. 
92 Ibid., 46, 119. 

[114] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 401 

to the settlements along the Mississippi. The most important 
town on this side of the Military Tract was, however, placed 
directly upon the river. The location was admirable and 
Qnincy enjoyed all the advantages of a good landing place 
and a healthful site on a high bluff over-hanging the river. To 
the rear of the city was a rich agricultural district filling up 
with settlers who, when their crops ripened, carted them to 
Quincy for shipment to southern markets. Naturally it also 
became the distributing point for the back country and through 
the lively trade which sprang up the village made rapid strides. 
The other early settlements in these counties were back a con- 
siderable distance from the river, the pioneers selecting the 
timbered tracts bordering the small prairies. 23 

The interior counties of the Military Tract, save in the case 
of Bureau, had very few settlers in 1830. 24 In McDonough 
county the settlements at Pennington's Point and Industry in 
the southern part of the county seem to indicate that the first 
settlement was made from the counties to the south. Nearly 
all the pioneers were from Kentucky and Tennessee and it is 
probable that they followed up the tributaries of the Illinois 
which flow through Schuyler county. Probably there were not 
more than sixty voters in the county in 1830. 25 The settlement 
of Warren 26 and Knox 27 counties began in 1827 when a fam- 
ily of New Englanders settled in the former. Stories of a rich 
agricultural district were carried back to the older settlements of 
Illinois by the 'bee-hunters' who passed through Knox county 
in 1827 and in the following year pioneers from Schuyler 
county came to settle here. Several settlements were started 
and in 1830 the combined population of the counties numbered 
about five hundred people. 28 Bureau county had but five fami- 



23 The ether early settlements were in Adams county and were Camp Point, 
Clayton, Columbus, Ellington and Fall Creek. All wei'e in the interior. 

24 McDonough, Knox, Stark, Bureau and Henry counties had about six hun- 
dred in all {Seventh Census (1850), 701). 

25 Clarke, History of McDonough County, 19. 

26 History of Warren County, 107. 
^History of Knox County, 102. 

28 Seventh Census (1850), 701, 702. 



[115] 



402 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

lies in 1828 although the first settlement had been made in 
1820. 29 

Such were the settlements of the Military Tract in 1830. By 
far the greater part of the population was in the southern part 
of the Tract close to the more thickly settled districts of cen- 
tral Illinois. There were no towns of any consequence save 
Quincy, and the prairie district of the north was practically 
untouched. The pioneers were chiefly southerners. From 1831 
to 1850 Calhoun county did not increase rapidly in population 
since it did not offer the advantages for agriculture that were to 
be found in other parts of the state. "When the lumber industry 
began to wane the stream of settlers decreased accordingly. 
Four small villages formed the urban population in 1850. 30 

Pike county added over 16,000 settlers during the twenty 
years and since there were but three villages in the county in 
1850, it is natural to believe that the population was almost en- 
tirely rural. 31 The pioneers had for a time remained as close 
as possible to the timber but by 1850 there were settlements on 
the small prairies. 32 " Corncrackers and Hoosiers with a right 
smart sprinkling of Yankees" made up the population but al- 
most every state in the union was represented here. A Mor- 
mon town had been founded and had declined before 1850. 33 

The Illinois river counties, 34 Schuyler, Fulton and Peoria, had 
in 1830 an aggregate population of 5,000 and ten years later 
their population amounted to over 26/000. 35 Before Brown 
county was cut off from Schuyler in 1839, La Grange and Mt. 



29 It was not a permanent settlement, being made by a French fur trader 
named Bourbonnais. He was in the employ of the American Fur Company 
(History of Bureau County, 79-83). 

30 Gilead, Hardin, Illinois and Point were the settlements. Each had between 
five and eight hundred settlers. (Seventh Census (1850), 704.) 

31 Pittsfield, Perry and Griggsfield, each with less than seven hundred inhabi- 
tants, were the villages. (Seventh Census (1850), 714.) 

32 Almost half the county was under cultivation (Peyton, Statistical view of 
Illinois, 13). 

33 History of Pike County, 239. 

34 For convenience of treatment the counties of the tract will now be divided 
into three sections. The Illinois river counties being Schuyler, Fulton and 
Peoria ; the Mississippi river counties being Adams, Hancock, Henderson and 
Mercer ; the counties of McDonough, Warren, Knox, Stark, Henry and Bureau 
being classed as the inland counties. 

35 Seventh Census (1850), 701, 702. 



[116 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 403 

Sterling had become towns of some importance. Several east- 
ern parties were engaged in business at the former place, which, 
owing to its situation upon the Illinois river, became a port of 
some consequence in the river traffic. All the goods shipped 
to the county came up the river and La Grange was the landing 
place as well as the shipping point for the back country towns, 
especially Mt. Sterling and Versailles. 36 

Mt. Sterling, which was to be the county town of Brown 
county when organized, enjoyed but slow growth before 1834 
when a revival of energy took place, the village growing to one 
of fifty houses by 1837. 37 The same revival of energy which 
was the result of the speculative spirit which swept over the 
country during the decade also gave Brown county its first ex- 
perience with "paper towns," Washington being laid out in 

1836. 38 No further development was made, however. 
Rushville, Fredericksville, Huntsville and Birmingham were 

the principal towns of Schuyler county in 1850. Bushville 
enjoyed a steady growth from the time of its establishment in 
1829. A wool carding factory and other industries, begun' in 

1831. 39 drew laborers and mechanics to the village which by 
1832 had four hundred inhabitants clustered about five little 
stores. 40 Cholera during the year of 1834 swept away many 
of the settlers but the little village continued to grow until in 
1837 it was a town of 1,200 inhabitants having Hve churches, 
twelve stores and four hundred houses. 41 Most of the houses 
were frame ones, the lumber probably being brought from 
Calhoun county where the industry was carried on rather ex- 
tensively. Fredericksville on the Illinois river was of some im- 
portance as a shipping point. The other named towns were 
still young and small, having been laid out in 183 6. 42 

Fulton county from 1830 to 1840 gained 12,300 inhabitants, 
most of them going to the rural districts. 43 Canton was a 



36 History of Schuyler and Brown counties, 322. 

37 Illinois in 1837, 105. 

38 History of Schuyler and Brown counties, 271. 
"ITHd., 234. 

40 Illinois Monthly Magazine, 3, 260. 

41 Illinois in 18S7, 128. 

42 History of Schuyler and Brown counties, 363-373. 

43 Seventh Census (1850), 701. 

[117] 



404 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

village of four hundred people in' 1835, 44 when it was completely 
destroyed by a storm. 45 It had recovered some of its import- 
ance by 1837 when with Lewiston and Farminton it was 
named as one of the largest settlements in the county. 46 Wash- 
ington, Fairview, Middleton, Liverpool, Ellisville and Berna- 
dotte, all small towns consisting of a few cabins' and a store, 
make up the list of Fulton county settlements. Vermont, a 
similar village seems to imply by its name a New England set- 
tlement which, however, was not true. Kentuckians made the 
settlement but the name was given by the solitary New Eng- 
lander residing there, he having purchased with a jug of 
whiskey the right to name the settlement. 47 

Peoria county had in 1840 over 6,000 settlers 48 and the town 
of Peoria was the chief center of population. The town had a 
favorable location being placed on a high bluff at the foot of 
Peoria lake. In 1832 it was a small village of fifteen or twenty 
log cabins but being the strongest one in this part of the frontier 
it was the place of refuge for the pioneers who fled from the 
northern districts at the opening of the Black Hawk "War. 49 
Communication by steamboats on the Illinois river and by 
stages overland kept Peoria in touch with the neighboring 
settlements. In 1834 the population was estimated at between 
three and four hundred 50 and a year later at over eight hun- 
dred. 51 In this last year the first Germans 52 came to settle here 
and in 1836 New Englanders first appeared in the town. 53 By 
1837 it was a thriving town. 54 Rome, Chillicothe, Brimfield, 
Northampton, Allentown, Kickapoo, Hudson and Caledonia 
were settlements of lesser note. 55 



44 History of Fulton county, 527. 

45 Chicago Weekly American, July 4, 1835. 
^Illinois in 1837, 78-118. 

"History of Fulton county, 899. 

48 Seventh Census (1850), 702. 

49 History of Peoria county, 451. 

50 Chicago Weekly Democrat, June 4, 1834. 

51 St. Louis Commercial Bulletin, Dec. 18, 1835. 
62 History of Peoria county, 489. 

53 Western Messenger, April, 1836. 

54 Illinois in 1837, 126, says that Peoria had twenty-five stores, two hotels, six 
churches and over 1,600 inhabitants. 

55 History of Peoria county, 572-577. 



[118 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 405 

Of the Mississippi river counties, Adams county gained over 
12,000 inhabitants during the decade. 56 Quincy with its ad- 
vantageous location grew with equal rapidity. For several 
years the lack of good building material and the high price of 
lumber were difficulties to be overcome but the village doubled 
its population from 1830 to 1832 and at the time of its incor- 
poration in 1834 its population was estimated at six hundred. 57 

During the next few years while the state enjoyed great 
prosperity, Quincy continued to develop and the tide of immi- 
gration increased steadily until in 1838 the village had a popu- 
lation of 1,500 or more, 58 making it the largest settlement in 
the Military Tract. 59 Its importance as a shipping point for 
agricultural products was now recognized, three hundred steam- 
boats arriving or leaving during the year of 1837, while the 
trade in pork, flour and wheat amounted to $112,500 for that 
year. 60 Sawmills were kept busy supplying lumber for new 
buildings and with the increased demand for laborers the float- 
ing population grew. The population was derived from all 
countries but Yankees and Kentuckians were in the majority 
and about equally divided. 61 In 1840 Quincy obtained a city 
charter. 62 

Outside of Quincy there were no settlements of much im- 
portance. Payson, which was laid out in 1835, was surrounded 
by a rich agricultural district and for a time gave promise of 
becoming an important settlement but the development so well 
begun soon ceased, probably owing to the rivalry with Quincy. 63 
The remaining settlements were small being only agricultural 
villages giving little promise of immediate development. 



56 Seventh Census (1850), 701. 

57 Asbury, Quincy, 44. 

58 Estimates varied; 1,500 (Illinois in 1837, 127); 1,653 (Redmond, Quincy, 
15) ; 3,000 (Buckingham, Eastern and Western states, 3, 102). 

59 In 1835 Quincy had a population of seven hundred people. (Redmond, 
Quincy, 14.) There were ten stores, a printing office and over one hundred 
houses in the village. (Asbury, Quincy, 47.) In 1837 there were twenty-five 
stores, a land office, three taverns, two saw mills and two churches. (Illinois 
in 1837, 127.) 

60 Redmond, Quincy, 15. 

61 Asbury, Quincy, 47. 

62 History of Adams county, 454. 
03 Ibid., 551. 

r ii9 1 



406 BULLETIN" OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

Although Hancock increased steadily in number of settlers 
it is difficult to speak accurately concerning their location since 
there were no towns of size in the county. Warsaw on the 
bank of the Mississippi was laid out in 1834 but did not grow 
to any size for a number of years. 64 Venus, also well located 
on the great river, was slow in growth. The name was early 
changed to Commerce which was in turn to be forgotten when, 
under the regime of Joseph Smith, Nauvoo rose upon the site 
of Venus. Before the coming of the Mormons it had a few 
hundred inhabitants and such facilities for business as were 
generally found in pioneer towns. 65 Carthage and Fountain 
Green, both later to be connected with the history of the Mor- 
mon occupation, were the chief interior settlements. Pulaski, 
Chili and La Harpe may also be mentioned. 66 

Henderson county, as yet unorganized, had some small settle- 
ments. Oquawka, laid out in 1836, was probably of the great- 
est importance, being for years, until the building of the rail- 
roads, the shipping point for the produce of Knox, Henderson 
and Mercer counties. 67 Shokokon, also a river town, was the 
center of a rich agricultural district and would probably have 
increased in importance had it possessed the advantage of a 
good landing. The river, however, was too shallow here for 
the boats and instead of becoming a shipping point it developed 
the lumber industry. Eafts came down from "Wisconsin and 
were sawed here. Its population never exceeded three hun- 
dred persons. 68 

Mercer county, although organized in 1825 grew very slowly 
for ten years, there being not more than two hundred and fifty 
settlers within its limits in 1835. 69 In 1840 there were almost 
10,000 people here. 70 Keithsburg and New Boston were the 
river towns but neither was of importance and of the numer- 



64 History of Hancock county, 638. 

65 Overland Monthly, 16, N. S. 620. 
6(5 History of Hancock county, passim. 

67 History of Henderson and Mercer counties, 887. 

68 md., 888. 
»Ibid. 3 48. 

70 Seventh Census (1850), 702. 



[120] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 407 

ous inland settlements Sugar Grove, settled by Tennesseeans, 
seems to have been the most thriving community. 71 

The inland counties of the Tract, McDonough, Warren, Knox, 
Stark, Henry and Bureau were all organized in the decade 
1831-1840 and had in 1830 a combined population of a few 
more than six hundred inhabitants. 72 After the close of the 
Black Hawk "War the report was spread about that this portion 
of the state was exceedingly fertile and would make an excellent 
place for settlement. Accordingly, immigrants began to find 
their way up the rivers and over the prairies from Ohio, In- 
diana and various other places. 

During the first few years immediately following the war 
but little of note happened in McDonough county and but few 
families moved in. The population, however, increased to over 
2,800 before the close of 1835. 73 Macomb, the seat of justice, 
Edmonson's Prairie and Middletown were struggling settle- 
ments in 1835. From 1837 to 1845 there were hard times in 
McDonough county owing to the financial depression through- 
out the state. Money was almost unknown and all business 
transactions were carried on by means of barter, notes often 
being made payable in a cow, a horse or half a dozen hogs. 74 In 
spite of the handicap, settlement increased and, at the close of 
the decade 1831-1840, numbered over 5,000 inhabitants. 75 

After 1832 scattered settlements were located at various 
points in Warren county and everywhere the pioneers peti- 
tioned the county commissioners court for roads to connect the 
widely scattered hamlets with market places. Monmouth, the 
chief town, had but eighty inhabitants in 1835 but grew more 
rapidly during the closing years of the decade. 76 The popula- 
tion of the entire county in 1840 was a little over 6,700 people. 77 

In 1831 half a dozen weak settlements comprised all of Knox 



71 Sugar Grove had sixty settlers in 1835. The other settlements were in 
Ohio Grove, Abington, Suez, Greene, Pre-emption, Richland Grove, Rivoli and 
Eliza townships. {History of Henderson and Mercer counties, 272-742.) 

72 Seventh Census (1850), 701, 702. 

73 Clarke, History of McDonough county, 76. 

74 Clarke, History of McDonough county, 60. 

75 Seventh Census (1850), 701. 

76 Past and Present of Warren county, 142. 
77 Seventh Census (1850), 702. 

r i2i i 



408 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN" 

county's population but at the close of the decade there were 
7,000 settlers within the limits of the county. 78 In 1835 Knox- 
ville with a population of two hundred people was the chief 
town. 79 A year later Galesburg, which was destined to be the 
most important city of the county, was founded. In 1834 Rev. 
George W. Gale of Oneida county, New York, matured a plan 
for planting a colony in the West which should be a center of 
moral and intellectual influence. Later he issued a circular 
setting forth his plan and soliciting subscribers. A committee 
for exploration was sent out and upon its recommendation the 
present site of Galesburg was purchased in 1835. Early in the 
next year a colony of forty persons 80 left New York and came 
by canal boat up the Illinois river to a convenient landing place, 
traveling from there overland. Log City was the name first 
given to the settlement and by 1837 its populaton was estimated 
at two hundred and thirty. 81 In ten townships settlements had 
been located before 1840 but it seems nearly impossible to deter- 
mine their size. 82 

Henry county which had but 1,260 settlers in 1840 83 was 
occupied first by colonies thereby being an exception to the gen- 
eral rule governing the settlement of the state. When specu- 
lation in Illinois lands got fairly under way in 1835, Henry 
county became the scene of an exceptionally large number of 
this experimental class of settlements. Persons authorized to 
purchase large tracts of land visited the county during that 
year and much to the detriment of the individual settlers, if 
not to the benefit of the companies represented, made purchases. 
As a result, Andover, Wethersfield, Geneseo, Morristown, La 
Grange, and later the Bishop Hill colonies were established. 8 * 
The first three had religious aims and all aimed at the dis- 
semination of education save possibly the Bishop Hill colony 
which seems to have been strictly religious. 



n IUd., 702. 

79 History of Knox county, 629. 

80 Stories of the Pioneer Mothers of Illinois. (Letter of Mary Allen West. 
MSS. in Illinois Historical Society Library.) 

81 Bascom, Settlement of Galesburg, 25. 

82 History of Knox County, 479-507. 

83 Seventh Census (1850), 701. 

84 History of Henry County, 117. 

[122 1 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 409 

First of these experiments was the Andover settlement, situ- 
ated a few miles southwest of the center of the county. A com- 
mittee acting for a New York association located a tract of land 
here in 1835, began the first settlement upon it and platted a 
city. Success did not crown their efforts to any marked degree 
for the land was held by the proprietors at too high a price and 
immigrants passed it by. 85 

Returning from the planting of the Andover colony, Mr. Pills- 
bury, one of the committee, immediately attempted to interest 
Dr. Tenney, an influential minister of Wethersfield, Connecti- 
cut, in a similar undertaking. An association of sixty men 
with a capital stock of $25,000 was formed, land was purchased 
in Henry county and a settlement begun. 86 Few of the pur- 
chasers came west and consequently the growth of the settle- 
ment was slow. 

During the winter of 1834-35 notices were published in several 
of the New York papers calling a meeting of all people interested 
in western colonization. The result was the formation of a New 
York colony and the appointment of the usual committee for 
exploration and purchase. The committee purchased 20,000 
acres of land in Henry county. Each member of the colony 
bound himself to erect upon his claim buildings to the value of 
two hundred dollars and should this provision not be carried 
out the land should revert to the company on the grounds of a 
broken contract. Moreover it was provided that the settlers who 
fulfilled their contracts should be allowed to take the claims of 
the delinquent ones by paying three dollars an acre, or double 
the original price of the claim. Seeing the possibility of making 
a good bargain at least four-fifths of the colonists failed to ful- 
fill the building contract and by so doing doubled their money. 
Many, however, were honest in their intentions but were pre- 
vented from carrying them out because of the panic of 1837 
which came before the two years had expired. The most de- 
sirable lots were put up at auction and some six or seven thou- 



85 History of Henry County, 524. 

86 The shares in the company sold for two hundred and fifty dollars each and 
entitled the purchaser to one hundred and eighty acres of land, twenty of which 
were to be timber land (History of Henry County, 137-140). 



[123 



410 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

sand dollars resulted to the association with Which fund a pub- 
lic lodging house was built for the accommodation of colonists 
until they were able to erect their own abodes. A few colonists 
came in 1836, five in all and by 1837 there were but ten families 
on the whole prairie. S7 One more experiment therefore could, 
for the time, be called a failure. 

As a result of a religious revival of unusual excitement in- 
New York the Geneseo colony was established in Henry county 
in 1836. The idea was conceived in 1831 and after proper ex- 
ploration a colony was formed. A village was to be laid out in 
lots and the lots were to be sold only to such men as were of 
good character. The proceeds were to go towards building a 
high school. 

In September, 1836, forty persons in wagons started across 
Canada, southern Michigan and northern Indiana to Illinois. 
The journey took nine weeks and when the little colony reached 
its future home the members could not have been very favorably 
impressed with the outlook. Their nearest neighbor on the west 
was at Rock Island, twenty-five miles away; on the south the 
Andover and Wethersfield colonies were just establishing them- 
selves; on the east the Northampton colony was struggling to 
gain a foothold at Princeton and on the north a fe'w straggling 
families lived along the Rock river. However, the colony erected 
its canvas roofed church, opened its school and proceeded to 
make the best of the situation. 88 

Henry county had but few settlers in 1840 and the settlement 
does not seem to have been a natural one. Speculation was rag- 
ing in the eastern states and the hope of sudden riches tempted 
many to invest in western lands. Settlements would increase 
the value of the holdings so it is natural to believe that land 
owners would also be promoters of colonizing schemes and to 
this it seems were due the colonies of Henry county. 

Bureau county was settled slowly before the Black Hawk 
War. Being a frontier county its inhabitants were exposed to 
Indian attacks and few of the pioneers, daring as they might be, 
cared to risk their lives on the extreme frontier when it offered 



87 History of Henry County, 135. 

88 Thirtieth Anniversary of the Settlement of Geneseo, 3-9. 

[124] 



POOLE Y SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 411 

no advantages superior to those of the more protected parts. 
By 1831 only sixteen families resided within the limits of Bureau 
county. A year later there were forty cabins in the county, 
thirty of which were grouped on Bureau creek in the south- 
eastern part. The largest settlement was that at Princeton 
which was composed of nine families. 89 

Princeton was settled in 1831 by a colony from Northampton, 
Massachusetts. It was the first of a series of attempts at colo- 
nization, such as have been spoken of in Henry county. The 
Hampshire colony, as it was called, assembled at Albany, New 
York, in May, 1831, and began its journey westward by way of 
the Great Lakes to the St. Jo river in Michigan, whence the lit- 
tle caravan proceeded on foot to the Kankakee river and floated 
down it on a craft composed of two canoes lashed together. One 
lone settler occupied the site of Princeton when the colony ar- 
rived. The members established themselves here and called the 
place Greenfield and although a settlement of a very small size r 
it became in later years the nucleus,' of a considerable New Eng- 
land population. 90 A dozen other small settlements were begun 
in the early years of the decade, Bureau and Selby being the most 
important ones and these having but four families each. 91 

In 1836 the influx began, for the wave which had started some 
years before from the eastern states as a result of the specula- 
tion craze was just reaching the western prairies of Illinois. 
The land had come into the market in 1835 and nearly all the 
good timber land was taken up at once. In 1836 the popula- 
tion of the county doubled, but even then there were few people 
here. 92 In the entire county there was but one meeting-house, 
two or three log school houses, two surveyed roads and not a 
bridge. 93 Lamoille in the northeastern part of the county was 
laid out in 1836. A store and a postoffice were added the next 
year and a year later, a hotel. 94 

Another colony of New Englanders was established about ten 



89 Taxpayers and Voters of Bureau County* 90-91. 

90 Matson, Reminiscences of Bureau County, 261. 

91 Taxpayers and Voters of Bureau County, 102. 

92 IUd., 102. 

93 Matson, Reminiscences of Bureau County, 397. 

94 Taxpayers and Voters of Bureau County, 135. 



[125] 



412 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVEKSITY OF WISCONSIN 

miles southwest of Princeton in 1836. The colony had been 
organized at Providence, Rhode Island and having taken the 
usual steps for exploration, had purchased 17,000 acres. In 
1837, forty persons came to the proposed site of Providence 
village. For some time they resided in the colony house but 
soon were able to erect dwellings for themselves. Like all other 
colonies sent out during this period of experimentation and 
speculation, the greatest success did not attend the venture, but 
the colony added wealth and numbers to the slowly growing 
county which in 1840 had but 3,000 inhabitants. 95 

The decade 1831-1840 was one of rapid development in the 
Military Tract and the bulk of the population was still in the 
counties along the rivers. 96 The process 1 of settlement was 
the same as had taken place in the decade previous. The new 
settlements along the tributaries of the large streams multiplied 
but the growth of the older settlements was not rapid, since the 
tendency displayed by the pioneers was ever to move towards 
the interior, taking up such land as was near the timber, and to 
shun the older settlements. This last characteristic was a 
natural one for the timber lands in the older settled regions had 
long been occupied and prices had advanced beyond what the 
pioneer could afford to pay. He was compelled, therefore, to 
move on to the prairie or toward the frontier and at this date he 
preferred the latter alternative as the great number of new 
settlements in the interior shows. 

In some cases the hitherto unoccupied bottom lands were 
taken up as the settlements of Rome, Chillicothe, Fredericks- 
ville, Oquawka and others show. Along the numerous wooded 
tributaries of Spoon river and Crooked creek which penetrated 
the Military Tract, settlements were frequent and upon these 
settlements as bases the later pioneers were to build when they 



s5 Seventh Census (1850), 701. 

66 In 1850 the population of Pike and Calhoun counties was 13,469, a numeri- 
cal gain of 9,983 and a per cent, gain of 286 ; the population of the Mi- sissippi 
river counties was 26.774, a numerical gain of 24,079 and a per cent, gain of 
893 • the population of the Illinois river counties was 30,450, a numerical gain 
of 25,094 and a per cent, gain of 468 ; the northern counties had a population 
of 25.007, a numerical gain of 24,384 and a per cent, gain of almost 4,000. 
Seventh Census (1850), 701-702. 

[ 126 ] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OE ILLINOIS, 1830-50 413 

began to experiment more seriously with the problem of the 
prairies. 

The colonial attempts at settlement were a new departure 
and while as a general rule the colonies were not successful 
they seem to indicate that aside from the desire to make money 
the people felt that by systematic organization and numbers 
the prairies could be subdued. They were attempts to establish 
settlements which would be self -sufficing for a time at least. 

The decade 1841-1850 was also one of considerable advance- 
ment. During the early years of the decade financial troubles 
hindered the growth of settlement for the time; the state was 
in distress, being overloaded with debt and thinking seriously 
of repudiation but still attempting to stave off disaster as long 
as possible by heavy taxation. The farmers could get little 
for their produce and even these small prices were not paid in 
cash. Money was so scarce that it was next to impossible to 
get enough to buy government lands, however low the price 
might be. In some places the settlers borrowed money at fifty 
per cent, in order to get a clear title to their lands. 97 When the 
state gradually emerged from its difficult position, times became 
better, money looser, taxes lower, confidence greater and settle- 
ment began again to extend. 

The growth of the Illinois river counties seems to have been 
slow during the first half of the decade but was more rapid 
after 1845. Peoria was the most important city along the Ill- 
inois river, having enjoyed a rapid increase in numbers 98 and 
being a substantially built city well supplied with churches and 
schools. 99 It wore a marked New England aspect. 100 

Mt. Sterling in Brown county with five hundred and fifty 
inhabitants, Eushville in Schuyler county with twenty-six 
hundred, Canton and Lewiston in Fulton county with over 
fifteen hundred inhabitants each, were the chief villages of the 
Illinois river counties. Fulton county had a population grouped 



97 History of Henderson and Mercer Counties, 625. 

98 Estimates of Peoria's population are as follows : In 1844, 1,619 ; in 1847, 
4,079; in 1849, 5,061, (Ballance, Peoria, 204) ; in 1850, 5,890, (Drown, Histori- 
cal View of Peoria. 148.) 

99 Prairie Farmer, 7, 30. 
100 Curtiss, Western Portraiture, 317. 



[137] 



414 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

in several comparatively large settlements, for nine in the county 
were credited with more than one thousand inhabitants in 
1850. 101 The whole district had in 1850 a population aggregat- 
ing almost 59,000 being nearly double the population of 1840. 102 
There were 281,000 acres of land under cultivation in 1850 
which shows the development of the farming portions of these 
counties. 103 

Adams county was still the most populous district along the 
Mississippi river as well as in the entire Military Tract. Quincy 
grew apace in numbers and commercial importance and in 1850 
had a population of nearly 7,000, being second of Illinois cities 
in size. 104 The influence of its favorable location is even more 
marked after 1840 than before. A great deal of business was 
transacted here annually. In 1841, $330,000 worth of merchan- 
dise was disposed of in the city and 420,000 bushels of grain 
exported. 105 The manufacture of flour which had begun some 
years before was now a rapidly increasing industry for the out- 
put which numbered 21,500 barrels in 1843 had reached 68,000 
barrels per annum in 1846. Pork packing was also a paying 
industry now and during the fiscal year 1847-48 about 20,000 
hogs were packed by the dealers in the city. 100 Business in- 
creased and in spite of a temporary lull in 1849 caused by a 
visitation of Asiatic cholera and the California gold fever which, 
between them, carried away four hundred settlers, 107 Quincy 
yearly became of more importance. It was a city of substantial 
residences and numerous public buildings and business houses 
which with its green parks and shaded walks gave an eastern 
air to the thriving city. 108 The export trade of the city amounted 
to $500,000 per year by 1850 and a line of steamboats which 



101 Seventh Census (1850), 703-715. 

102 Ibid., 701. 

103 Peyton, Statistical View of Illinois, 13. 

104 Seventh Census (1850), 703. 
103 Redmond, Quincy, 15. 

106 Asbury, Quincy, 113-116. 

107 Ibid., 81. 

los There were twenty-six variety stores, two hardware stores, two book stores, 
five drug stores, ten ware-houses, six mills, four lumber yards, three machine 
shops, two foundries, three printing offices, two hotels, thirteen churches, five 
private and two public schools. (Redmond, Quincy, 15; Asbury, Quincy, 82; 
Prairie Farmer, 7, 383.) 



[128] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 415 

made daily trips to St. Louis brought back such goods as were 
needed by the settlers of the district. 109 

The entire population of the county was 26,500 in 1850, 
fifteen settlements having more than eight hundred inhabitants 
each. 110 Almost 150,000 acres of land under cultivation 
showed the activity of the farmer class and the healthful in- 
fluence of a good market. 111 

In Hancock county the Mormons were the center of attrac- 
tion until 1846, and while swelling the population of the county 
until the date of their expulsion, their influence was a decidedly 
negative one. At the time of their arrival Hancock county 
had a population of about 7,000 but now all immigration, save 
that of the Mormons ceased and emigration began until not 
more than 4,000 American settlers were left in the county in 
1845. 112 Aside from Nauvoo, the only settlements of note were 
"Warsaw and Mjacedonia, and neither had a population of five 
hundred people. 113 

Coming from Missouri in 1839 the Mormon band settled at 
Commerce, changed the name to Nauvoo and occupied almost 
all the county together with portions of the neighboring coun- 
ties. A charter was granted by the state legislature and the 
city of Nauvoo grew rapidly as the Mormon power increased 
until it was estimated that there were in Nauvoo and the ad- 
joining country, about 30,000 of the sect. Next to St. Louis, 
it was the most important city of the Upper Mississippi. 11 * The 
charter was repealed in 1845 and decline set in. Expulsion 
followed in 1846 and Illinois was rid of a class of people which 
had caused only a passing prosperity. 

Following the Mormon exodus came the Icarians. These 
Icarians were Frenchmen who, in an attempt to put to a prac- 
tical test the communistic doctrine of M. Cabet of Dijon, had 
come to America, intending to settle in Texas. The plan proved 
unsuccessful and a part of the colony under the leadership of 



109 Prairie Farmer, 7, 383. 

110 Seventh Census (1850), 703. 

111 Peyton, .Statistical View of Illinois, 13. 

112 Nilefe' Register, 69, 109. See chap, xii., post. 

113 History of Hancock County, 638. 

114 Smith and Smith, History of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter 
Day Saints, 3, 1. 

9 [ 129 ] 



416 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

Cabet himself landed at Nauvoo in March, 1846. 115 Eight 
hundred acres of land were rented and some of the abandoned 
Mormon houses were bought. The industry of these people 
and their peaceful, orderly habits caused them to be esteemed 
by their American neighbors and consequently the settlement 
prospered for several years. "When the members left Illinois 
some years later it was not by request. 

After the Mormons left the state, settlers again nocked in and 
at the close of the decade there were over 14,600 116 people in 
Hancock county and 80,000 117 acres of land were under culti- 
vation. 

Henderson and Mercer counties were occupied chiefly by 
farmers who had established themselves in the timber along 
the small streams. Oquawka, with less than six hundred in- 
habitants, was the center of population in Henderson county 
and maintained some importance as a shipping point for the 
county until the railroads were built. Keithsburg, Millers- 
burg and New Boston were the largest settlements in Mercer 
county and not one of these had three hundred inhabitants. 118 

During the decade the counties had nearly doubled in popu- 
lation having in 1850 over 51,000 inhabitants. 119 There were 
under cultivation 300,000 acres making it the greatest farming 
district of the Military Tract. 120 

The prairie counties of this division of the state did not in- 
crease in population as rapidly during the decade 1841-1850, 
as did the other portions lying along the Illinois and Mississippi 
rivers. The gain in numbers amounted to over 20,000 or almost 
5,000 less than during the preceding decade. 121 Financial dis- 
tress in the state, no doubt, had its effect but probably the 
greatest influence working was the character of the district. 
Primarily a prairie region, the amount of woodland was 
limited. The rapid influx of immigration during the earlier 
years had filled up much of the desirable timber land leaving 



115 Reynolds, Illinois, 372. See chap, xiii., post. 

116 Seventh Census (1850), 702. 

117 Peyton, Statistical View o/ Illinois, 13. 

118 Seventh Census (1850), 702-713. 

119 IUd., 702. 

120 Peyton, Statistical View of Illinois, 13. 

121 Seventh Census (1850), 701-702. 



[130] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 417 

only the prairie for the later arrivals. Facilities for trans- 
portation were limited and so much trouble was experienced 
in obtaining lumber for fences and houses, that rather than re- 
main and face such difficulties the later comers moved on. 

McDonough, Warren and Stark counties where little unoc- 
cupied timber was left and where communication was poorly- 
developed gained little in numbers during the decade. 122 Toulon 
in Stark county, Monmouth in "Warren county and Macomb in 
McDonough county each has less than eight hundred inhabi- 
tants. Knoxville and Galesburg in Knox county were of the same 
size. 123 

During this period Henry county was the scene of another 
colonizing venture. This time it was by foreigners. Dissatis- 
faction with the state religion of Sweden caused quite a number 
to contemplate emigration and accordingly preparations were 
made and a messenger was sent to America to find a suitable 
location. Henry county was selected and in 1846 about &ve 
hundred emigrants arrived there. 124 By 1850 the number had 
doubled 125 and Bishop Hill, as the settlement was called, was 
the most important one in the county. At this time the infant 
settlements of Andover, Geneseo, Wethersfield and La Grange 
were still struggling for life and Kewanee and Galva, towns of 
importance in Henry county today, had as yet not sprung into 
existence, being products of the railroads. 

Bureau county had increased at the close of the period about 
5,800 but the increase was confined to the region of the rivers 
and old settlements. Princeton, Lamoille, Dover and Clarion 
were the settlements best known, the largest being Princeton 
with a population of less than eight hundred. 126 One division 
of Fourier's Phalanx made an unsuccessful attempt at estab- 
lishing a settlement. 127 The entire population of these interior 
counties in 1850 shows an increase of eighty per cent, over 1840 



122 The gain for the three counties was less than 5,000 (Seventh Census (1850), 
701, 702). 

123 IMd., 710-716. 

124 Biigelow, Bishop Hill Colony, 101-108, in Transactions of 111. State Hist. 
Society, 1902. See chap, xiii., post. 

125 Mikkelson, Bishop Hill Colony, 36, in Johns Hopkins University Studies, 10. 

126 Seventh Census (1850), 703. 

127 Hinds, American Communities, 224. See chap, xiii., post. 

r i3i i 



418 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

which is a smaller increase than either of the other sections and 
probably is due to the greater amount of prairie land here. 

From 1831 to 1840 the entire Military Tract gained 83,500 in 
population; during the decade 1841-1850 the gain was but 80,- 
600, in all a gain of over 165,000 for the twenty years. 128 The 
decline noticed in the last decade probably can be attributed to 
increased competition from other parts of the state. The Rock 
river valley, the Fox river valley and the upper Illinois river val- 
ley were during the years 1841-1850 receiving great numbers of 
settlers and, having excellent timber land in larger quantities 
than remained unoccupied in the Military Tract, tended to at- 
tract the new comers. 

The rule concerning the late settlement of the prairies and the 
early settlement of the woodlands holds in this portion of the state 
as well as the others. The Illinois and Mississippi river coun- 
ties, having numerous small streams and tracts of woodland, 
settled rapidly but where the prairies were extensive the settle- 
ment was slow. The local historians repeatedly mention this 
fact and state that not until 1850, or even later, did the pio- 
neers venture out into the open to any extent. The railroads 
were a necessity and until they solved the problems of the prai- 
ries, the pioneers were almost helpless in the face of the dif- 
ficulties presented. 

The largest settlements of the Military Tract, Peoria and 
Quincy, can be said to have advanced to the dignity of cities 
by 1850. Peoria Was the most important port on the Illinois 
river as was Quincy on the Mississippi and with the develop- 
ment of the agricultural districts upon which they drew, as well 
as the development of steam traffic on the rivers whereby the 
southern markets were reached, these cities advanced rapidly 
in wealth, population and importance. 

In the case of Quincy the effect of a favorable location is par- 
ticularly noticeable. Its easy communication with markets in 
the South, its good landing place for steamers, its healthful site 
upon a bluff above the river and its rich tributary agricultural 
district aided in the rapid development already noted. More- 
over the development of the flouring industry as well as that of 



12S Seventh Census (1850), 701-702. 

[132 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OE ILLINOIS, 1830-50 419 

pork packing also aided in the city's prosperity and in order to 
save transportation expenses on manufactured goods, factories 
of various descriptions sprang up to add to the growth of the 
community. In fact the growth of Quincy is an illustration 
of the effect of favorable environment and of the interaction of 
agricultural and manufacturing districts. 

Next in order of size were those cities which, while not situ- 
ated directly upon the large rivers, were in close contact with 
them, being located from five to fifteen miles away, thus be- 
ing free from the fevers which often swept the river bottoms, 
and still not far enough away to offer any serious difficulties 
in transportation. Pittsfield, Mt. Sterling, Rushville, Lewis- 
ton, and Canton City compose this class. In size they ranged 
from 1,500 to 2,500 inhabitants. 

The third class of towns comprised those of the interior 
counties — generally the county seats — which, removed from 
water communication with the outside world were handicapped 
to such an extent as to hinder growth. When the railroads 
penetrated these counties their prosperity was to increase, but 
not before. Macomb, Monmouth, Galesburg, Toulon, Prince- 
ton and other towns ranging from five hundred to one thousand 
inhabitants are examples of this class. 

Settlements by colonizing companies began to be of import- 
ance during the decade 1831-1840 when the whole country be- 
came entangled in land speculation. The Military Tract and 
especially Henry county, came in for its share of such ven- 
tures. No great success resulted, generally due to the lack of 
active settlers and the overabundance of those wishing to settle 
the county by theory rather than by practical attempts. 

In the southern portions of the Military Tract the settlers to 
a great extent were men from the southern states, because these 
counties were settled earliest when this class of pioneers was in 
the majority. As has been mentioned before, the counties close 
to the Sangamon country where many Kentuckians and Tenn- 
esseeans resided, naturally received a large part of their set- 
tlers from across the Illinois river. Along the Illinois river 
the Kentuckians were numerous save in the cities, but as the 
line of settlement moved farther and farther up the river the 

[133] 



420 BULLETIN - OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

percentage of Kentuckians in the population decreased and that 
of the northern pioneers increased. 129 In the other portions 
of the Military Tract like conditions prevailed and as the north 
is approached the percentage of southerners decreases. 130 

Statistics seem to show that in the Military Tract before 
1850, the southern stream had begun to lose force and when 
it met the stream of northern settlers in a contention for the 
timber lands it gave way to the more energetic northern people 
who took up the land. Having the faculty for adapting him- 
self to his environments whatever they might be, the northern 
pioneer seemed destined to succeed in the conquest of the 
prairies. Far sighted, too, and believing in the feasibility of 
railroads, having seen them succeed in the East, he was more 
ready than his southern neighbor to venture away from the tim- 
ber land and into the prairie. 



129 An examination of the biographies of four hundred pioneers in Schuyler 
and Brown counties before 1850 shows that one hundred and forty came from 
the states of the Northwest Territory ; one hundred and six from Kentucky 
and Tennessee, ninety of these being from Kentucky ; sixty-six from the Middle 
Atlantic states ; forty from the southern states, sixteen from New England and 
thirty from foreign lands. {History of Schuyler and Brown counties, 377-394.) 

The biographies of 1,324 pioneers of Peoria at the same date show that four 
hundred and thirteen had come from the Middle Atlantic states; one hundred 
and sixty-five from New England ; one hundred and six from the Southi : one 
hundred and fifty from the northwestern states ; fify-three from Kentucky and 
Tennessee and four hundred and thirty-five from foreign lands. (Ballance, Peoria, 
201.) Also see further illustration in Chapter V on the Illinois and Fox river 
valleys. 

130 One hundred and forty-three pioneers of Quincy before 1850 came from the 
following regions. Eighteen per cent, were New Englanders, twenty-eight per 
cent, were from the Middle Atlantic states, twelve per cent, from the South 
Atlantic states, fifteen per cent, from the Northwest, twelve per cent, from 
Kentucky and Tennessee and eleven per cent, from foreign lands. (Asbury, 
Quincy, 103-106.) In New Boston and Keithsburg in Mercer county forty-six 
per cent, of the pioneers whose nativities are recorded by the local historian 
came from the Northwest ; twenty-eight per cent, from the Middle Atlantic 
states ; eight per cent, from the South ; five per cent., from New England ; three 
per cent, from Kentucky and Tennessee and ten per cent, were foreigners. 

{History of Mercer and Henderson Counties, 92.) Monmouth, an inland town, 
shows practically the same results, for seventy per cent, of the biographies ex- 
amined show the subjects to have come from northern states, twenty-one per 
cent, from southern states and nine per cent, from foreign lands. {Past and 
Present of Warren County, 203.) 



[134] 



POOLEY — -SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 421 



CHAPTER VII 



The Rock River Valley 

As an agricultural district the country around the Rock river- 
can scarcely be surpassed. The surface is rolling prairie land 
dotted with groves and springs while along the streams are 
denser woodlands'. The open country is exceedingly fertile 
and especially well adapted to the cultivation of grain. The 
climate is delightful and while it is one which, like other por- 
tions of our northern country, is subject to occasional marked 
changes in temperature, these changes have never been severe 
enough to cause more than slight inconveniences for the time. 

It is scarcely to be wondered at that when once the pioneer 
settlers became acquainted with this region they nocked to it 
with almost incredible rapidity. In 1834 not a single county 
had been formed, but before 1840 eight counties had been or- 
ganized and had a combined population of nearly 21,500. Dur- 
ing the decade following, the increase was even more striking, 
for by 1850 the population had trebled itself, numbering at that 
date 6 6, 200. 1 This rapid growth seems wonderful in view of 
the fact that it took place in a region practically isolated so far 
as facilities for communication were concerned, and also at a 
time when financial troubles oppressed the state as well as the 
rest of the country. 

Slight settlement had taken place in the valley previous to 
1830. In 1804 by the treaty of St. Louis the federal govern- 
ment acquired Rock Island in the Mississippi river from the 
Sac and Fox Indians. 2 Shortly after Ft. Armstrong was built 



1 Seventh Census (1850), 701-702. 

2 Flagler, History of the Rock Island Arsenal, 2. 

[ 135 ] 



422 



BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 



4uz 







C "»G C . 



Rock River Valley (1850) 

West of the prairie line 20 per cent, of the country is woodland. East of the line 
all timber is along the rivers. The years indicate date of county organization. 



[136] 



POOLE Y— SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS,, 1830-50 423 

and when the garrison came in 1816, Col. Davenport and his- 
family accompanied them, being for a number of years the only 
whites in the vicinity, save the garrison. In 1826 the begin- 
nings of the town' of Farnhamsburg, the predecessor of Rock 
Island, was made, Col. Davenport and Russell Farnham, part- 
ners in the Indian trade, erecting a house on the mainland. 3 
For years the house was to act as post-office, hotel and court 
house. Two years later a few families came to live on the 
island but being impressed with the fertility of the mainland 
and owing to its protected condition they ventured upon it. 4 
The little settlement grew so rapidly that when the Black Hawk 
War broke out four years later, it furnished fifty-eight men for 
the service. 5 

Some sixty miles up the river was another small settlement. 
On the present site of Dixon where the trail connecting Peoria 
and the lead region crossed the Rock river, a half-breed named 
Ogee, attracted by the yearly tide of immigration flowing to 
and from the lead mines, had established a ferry in 1826. 6 By 
1829 some, tired of the ceaseless traveling to and from the 
mines, and impressed with the fertile land around them, had 
settled at the ferry. A post-office for the accommodation of the 
travelers had been established here and the settlers from as far 
up the river as Rockford came here for their mail. 7 At the 
last named place stood a solitary pioneer cabin. 8 Along the 
Galena trace in the neighborhood of Dixon were scattered other 
small settlements. 

These were the settlements in the Rock river valley at the 
outbreak of the Black Hawk War. They were few in number 
and small in size but they portrayed pioneer tendencies by their 
location. The pioneer wished elbow room and disliked the ham- 
pering effects of civilization but still he was reluctant to give 
up all connection with his fellow men. As a consequence his 



3 History of RocJc Inland County, 118-142. 

4 Stevens, Black Hawlc War, 79. 

5 History of Rock Island County, 122. 

6 History of Dixon and Lee County, 14. 

7 History of Lee County, 38. 

* History of Dixon and Lee County, 4. 



[137] 



424 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

settlements were established on the waterways- in the new coun- 
try, or, better still, where the much traveled wagon road crossed 
the waterway, as at Dixon. The pioneer liked company but 
not too much of it and by establishing' himself in such places 
as have been named he was able to fulfill his desires. Where- 
ever the wagon roads offered good connections with the neighbor- 
ing settlements, there were to be found the settlers ' cabins. This 
is especially noticeable along the Peoria-Galena trace through the 
valley. 

In view of the facts cited, it seems proper to date the real set- 
tlement of this portion of Illinois from the Black Hawk War. 
Moreover, the last strip of Indian territory in the valley was 
ceded to the government by the Winnebago Indians in Septem- 
ber, 1832, 9 

The year 1831 had not been one of agricultural success 
and this, followed by the Indian troubles of 1832, reduced 
the settlers of the northern country to dire straits. So 
far everything seems to have operated against the pioneers and 
the country was not yet known to any extent. 

The maneuvers of the troops in the Rock river valley while in 
pursuit of Black Hawk gave the men some opportunity to be- 
come acquainted with its advantages. It is evident that some of 
the soldiers from the eastern states were wide awake to the pos- 
sibilities of this region, for shortly after their return home the 
vanguard of the New England and Middle states pioneers be- 
gan to arrive in Illinois. One of the great causes for this im- 
migration, 10 we are informed was the stories told by the soldiers 
concerning the beauty of the country and the fertility of the 
soil. 

During the next three years (to 1835) the pioneers, slowly 
gaining confidence owing to the settlement of the Indian troubles, 
again came to the Rock river valley, and, during the year 
immediately preceding the revulsion of 1837, settlers followed 
with increasing frequency. The Rock Island settlement under 
the shelter of Ft. Armstrong grew rapidly, developing into the 



9 Annual Report of the American Bureau of Ethnology 1896-1897, 2, 737. 

10 Evanston Historical Society Publication®, (1902), 3. 

[138] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 425 

town of Stephenson, which was the county seat of the newly 
organized Rock Island county. 11 In the immediate neighbor- 
hood, Fulton, at the narrows of the Mississippi was founded. 12 
Clinging to the wooded banks of the Rock river, were Prophets- 
town, Sterling, Dixon, Oregon and Rockford, each at the time a 
very small settlement and having no importance save that of 
being a pioneer village. 

Away from the river, however, in the groves bordering the 
smaller tributaries were settlements equal in importance, at 
that time, to the better known ones; but, later outstripped in 
growth because of increasing advantages of their neighbors, 
they are today deemed insignificant. Still in this study of 
settlement such places as Squaw Grove, Paw Paw Grove and 
Buffalo Grove have significance for the names call attention to 
the fact that in the early days of the conquest of the prairies 
the pioneers first sought the timber as a base of operations be- 
fore venturing out into the open. 

Sterling, one of the largest towns in the lower Rock river val- 
ley was organized in this decade and derived its name from a 
peculiar incident. Chatham and Harrisburg, rival pioneer 
towns situated opposite each other on the Rock river, struggled 
through three years for leadership in the newly organized county 
of Whiteside, each desiring the honor of being the county town. 
Each attempt upon the part of either contestant to gain prece- 
dence failed until finally the right to the county seat was de- 
cided by tossing a coin. The towns were united and the name 
Sterling was given to the new town. 13 

The northern part of the district did not, during the early 
years, make as much headway in settlement as did that part 
already mentioned. The most important center of population 
in Boone county had but twenty-three voters 14 in 1836. Its 
importance was due to the efforts of a stock company which 
endeavored to take advantage of the waterpower of the Kish- 



11 Organized in 1835. 

12 History of Whiteside County, 157. 

13 Whiteside county was organized in 1836. 

14 Past and Present of Boone County, 231. 



[139 



426 BULLETIN OF THE TJNIVEESITY OF WISCONSIN 

waukee river where it was crossed by the state road from Ga- 
lena to Chicago. 15 

Rockford, which was also, from its situation on the Rock river 
where the state road crossed it, in an advantageous position, be- 
gan its growth in 1835 and 1836. At the end of the latter year 
frame houses had begun to supplant the rougher log cabins of 
the previous years. Its greatest rival was Winnebago which 
for a time bid fair to become the most important towns of the 
county but upon its defeat for the honor of being the county 
seat a decline set in from which it never recovered. 

In 1834, Congress made the Polish grant in Winnebago coun- 
ty. 16 After the Polish insurrection of 1830 and 1831 numbers- 
had been forced into exile, many coming to America. Those 
who came to this country sent a committee to Congress petition- 
ing it for a grant of land. Congress replied by granting them 
thirty-six sections to be selected from the lands of Illinois and 
Michigan, laying but one restriction upon the choice, that those 
making the choice must select three townships adjoining each 
other. When the selection was finally made by the Polish dele- 
gate, Count Chlopiski, a year later, he selected the townships 
on which Rockford and Rockton stand, thereby both violating, 
the terms of the grant and causing consternation among the 
settlers who hoped in due time to obtain lawful possession of 
the land upon which they had settled. Nothing, however r 
came of the Polish grant, for these people settled in another 
part of the country, and caused the Rock river settlers no more 
trouble than that of keeping them from establishing clear titles 
to their lands, for Congress, anticipating that the Poles would 
eventually take up their residence upon the selected tracts, did 
not put this land on the market until 1843. 17 

During the years 1835 and 1836 many settlers came to Stephen- 
son county, especially in the latter year. While many of 
these were miners from the lead region, some were from the east- 
ern states and a considerable number from the southern part 



15 iud., 280. 

16 Senate Delates, 2$ Congress, 1 Bess., 1724. 

17 Church, History of Rockford, 210. The Poles settled in Texas. (North- 
western Gazette and Galena Advertiser, Sept. 24, 1836. 

[140] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 427 

of Illinois. This last class had, like many others, been impressed 
with the fertility of the country when they had passed through 
it in pursuit of Black Hawk and were now coming to take ad- 
vantage of the opportunities it offered. 18 The Winnebago In- 
dians, who, up to this time had by their presence in this part of 
the state retarded settlement to a great degree, now withdrew 
.across the Mississippi and by their withdrawal made the set- 
tlers in the district breathe easier, for the remembrance of the 
Sac and Fox disturbances was still fresh in the minds of the 
pioneers. The most important settlement was at Freeport, 
where an Indian trading post was established upon the Peca- 
tonica river in 1835. Over fifty families congregated at this 
point during the following year. 19 

Such was the Kock river valley in 1837 when, owing to the 
failure of so many speculative schemes, the financial depression 
came and with it a new era in the settlement of the state. In 
the period just discussed only beginnings were made ; some vil- 
lages of respectable size had sprung up and hundreds of fam- 
ilies were scattered here and there at the most attractive points. 

This early period of settlement in the valley may be taken 
as typical of the progress of settlement into a new country. The 
river served as the highway of communication with the outer 
world ; the two great roads through the valley, the one crossing 
the river at Dixon, the other at Rockford, also played their 
part. The map will show the location of the principal towns 
where the intersection of these highways took place, Rockford, 
Freeport and Dixon, with Rock Island at the mouth of the val- 
ley. Gradually the filling-in process took place and numer- 
ous smaller towns dotted the banks of the river. Along the 
two great wagon roads, settlements were also found but these 
were not to develop even into villages until the railroads came. 
Back from the main stream along the tributaries were still 
other settlements. Could we be allowed to view the valley as 
a whole the scene would be one of a line of cabins following the 



18 Johnston, Sketches of Stephenson County, 55. 

19 History of Stephenson County, 238. 



[141 



428 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

timber lands, along the streams, and leaving the great prairies- 
as yet untouched. 

The towns, so far, had shown no signs of becoming cities and 
they were not to make rapid strides for another decade. The 
reason seems simple. Lines of transportation were not devel- 
oped save a poor one in the Rock river. Lack of transporta- 
tion facilities caused a lack of markets and since good markets 
help in the development of an agricultural district and are de- 
pendent upon this development for support, it seems that the 
problem of transportation was the key to the situation and in 
the interacting influences of agriculture and steam was to be 
found the solution of the prairie problem. "When transpor- 
tation was assured, development was rapid but it was not to 
take place for several years to come because of the period of 
financial embarrassment experienced by the state from 1837 to 
1843. 

This second stage of growth (1837-1843) was not one of 
rapid development. It is true that settlers still came, but not 
in large numbers; timber claims were still in demand but in 
a less marked degree than formerly. Rock Island and Dixon 
increased a little as did the smaller settlements of the lower Rock 
river valley. A local historian notes the arrival of a colony of 
wealthy New Yorkers near Dixon in 1838 20 but it seems scarce- 
ly' probable that men of much property would care to exchange 
their homes for the privations of the frontier. 

In the closing years of the decade, 1831 to 1840, Ogle county 
grew little, but in the early forties settlers came more frequently. 
Money was scarce ; times were hard ; few markets for farm pro- 
duce presented themselves; the merchants refused to pay cash 
for products, all of which served to make the lot of the pio- 
neers a harder one. Those already in the country, believing in 
the ultimate adjustment of conditions on a more favorable 
basis, were willing to endure the hardships for the sake of fu- 
ture possibilities and remained. A few others came. Grand 
Detour, Oregon, Mt. Morris, Buffalo Grove, Rochelle and By- 
ron were the most important centers of settlement. 



20 History of Dixon and Lee County, 7. 

[142] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 429 K 

Grand Detour, so-called from its situation in the great bend 
of the Rock River, grew from a small village of a store and two 
dwellings in 1837 21 to one of considerable size in 1842. 22 Its 
growth is typical of the development of the early towns. Some 
advantages of transportation facilities were enjoyed and the 
surrounding agricultural country looked here for a market. 
Manufactures developed to an extent owing to high prices of 
transportation and it seemed the object of the community to be 
as nearly as possible self-sufficing. 

DeKalb county in 1840 had the least number of inhabitants 
of any of the Rock river valley counties. This may be at- 
tributed to its location which was midway between the line of 
settlement along the Fox river and that along the Rock. No 
river of size penetrated the county and consequently there was 
no easy opening allowed for the settlers. There were, how- 
ever, some settlements in the vicinity of the groves. Sycamore, 
which today is one of the important towns, was in 1840 "a 
dreary little village" of a dozen houses. 23 

Rockford was the chief town of "Winnebago county and be- 
fore 1842 had become one of respectable size. In 1838 East 
Rockford and West Rockford were two settlements apart from 
each other. West Rockford had eighteen buildings; while the 
settlement across the river was slightly larger. 24 Similarity 
of interests caused them to combine in 1839, when, together, 
they were incorporated as the city of Rockford. At that time 
the population amounted to two hundred and thirty-five. 25 
From this time in spite of the general depression throughout 
the state, Rockford enjoyed a rapid growth. Chosen as the 
seat of government for Winnebago county in 1839, its import- 
ance increased and by 1841 it had come to be the most popu- 



21 Sketches of Ogle County, 69. 

22 Rock River Gazette, Oct. 4, 1842, says the town had a good hotel ; two stores, 
one of which did $30,000 worth of business in a single year ; a broom factory ; 
a cigar factory ; a flour mill with a capacity of 6,000 to 8,000 barrels a year ; 
a printing press ; and a saw mill. There was also a plow factory with a daily 
capacity of fifty plows. 

23 History of DeKalb County, 386. 

24 Church, History of RocTcford, 134. 
25 Ibid. 3 148. 



[143] 



430 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN" 

lous town along" the Rock river, having eight hundred inhabi- 
tants. 26 

Although Winnebago was the most populous county in this 
portion of the state in 1840, settlement was carried on under 
adverse conditions especially during the later thirties. Prices 
were exceedingly high and money was scarce and those pioneers 
who as yet were unable to raise products varied enough to sat- 
isfy all their wants met with many hardships. 27 

With money scarce as it was during this time it may well be 
imagined what small chance the pioneer had to purchase the 
necessities of life in such a country. One man ventured to say 
that there were not twenty farmers 1 in the entire county in 1841 
and 1842 who had a suit of clothes suitable to wear to church 
or to court, which they had purchased with the fruits of their 
labor on their farms. The truth of the situation was that those 
who had an abundance of products were unable to sell because 
none were in a position to buy, owing to lack of funds. It was 
indeed a time of discouragement and some men past the prime 
of life, tired of battling with the hardships of the new country, 
returned to their old homes in the East. 28 Such people, it is 
certain, would by their stories of frontier trials and privations 
actively oppose the movement of any of their friends to the West. 
Here we find one of the causes which operated against the settle- 
ment of the state even as late as 1845. 

To a certain degree, Stephenson county seems also to have 
been an exception to the rule of slow settlement during the 
years immediately following 1837. In that year there were 
four or five hundred 29 settlers in the timber and in 1840 there 
were 2,800. 30 New England contributed most of the pioneers 
during this period although numbers of "Pennsylvania Dutch," 
Norwegians and English came also. The chief colony of Nor- 



26 Chicago Weekly American, Jan. 22, 1841. The town had two newspapers 
at this date. (Church, History of BocTcford, 215, 300.) 

27 Church, History of RocJcford, 131, quotes the following prices : — Flour, six- 
teen to thirty-two dollars a barrel ; pork, thirty dollars a barrel ; wheat, from 
three to four dollars a bushel ; and sugar, twenty-five cents a pound. 

23 Ibid., 131. 

29 Illinois in 1837, 109 : History of Stephenson County, 257. 

30 Seventh Census (1850), 702. 



[144] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 431 

wegians came from Nummedal and Tlielemark in 1839 and set- 
tled at Rock Run. There were one hundred and fifty in the 
colony. 31 In 1842 a colony of English peasants from Devon- 
shire and Sussex settled in Ridott township. 32 

Freeport developed as rapidly as did the rest of the county. 
A few houses were erected in 1837, but owing to the high price 
of lumber they were small ones. 33 All supplies were carted 
overland from Galena, a distance of more than fifty miles, and 
as a consequence prices were high and Freeport felt keenly the 
lack of transportation facilities. However, the town soon began 
to bear evidence of possibilities in the future and when in 1810 
its population numbered almost five hundred it began to ape 
the manners of a city. 34 It appears to have been a frontier 
town of none too good a type. "Saloons were maintained and 
gambling indulged in without limit. John Barleycorn reigned 
in those days more generally in proportion to the number of 
inhabitants than he does now, while the Tiger of Pharaoh was 
a beast that roamed about freely." 35 

Before passing from the discussion of this period it is neces- 
sary to mention an impediment to immigration to this country, 
which exercised more weight in the locality than financial 
troubles or the want of transportation facilities. The settlers, 
as we have noticed, were of all nations and from all portions of 
the United States, so it is not to be wondered at that there was 
infesting the Rock river country, a liberal share of counter- 
feiters, thieves and murderers. To a greater or less extent this 
class is always found on the outskirts of civilization and the 
Rock river valley was particularly unfortunate in being the 
rendezvous of such a band. These "Prairie Pirates" as they 
were called numbered about three hundred men who made it a 
business to buy moveable property and pay for it in counter- 
feit money, to steal horses and rob the cabins of the pioneers. 36 
The law seemed powerless against these desperadoes, for often 



31 l\elson, Scandinavians in the United States, 1, 132. 

32 History of Stephenson County, 268. 

33 Johnston, Sketches of Stephenson County, 91, 92. 
^Ibid., 93. 

35 History of Stephenson County, 264. 
** The New Yorker, May 30, 1840. 

10 [ 145 ] 



432 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

members of the band were filling local offices and shielded their 
companions. Lynch law alone restored order to the troubled 
district when two of the "Pirates" were hanged. 37 Over one hun- 
dred men sat upon the jury which convicted them and later pro- 
ceedings were brought against these jurymen. They were in- 
dicted for murder, tried but acquitted. The decisive action of 
the pioneers effectually stopped the raids and settlers were more 
secure thereafter in their lives and the possession of their prop- 
erty. 

Other conditions unfavorable to the rapid settling of the 
country also prevailed in this period. Markets were scarce. 
The Rock river man was compelled to cart his produce to Ga- 
lena or Savanna, on the Mississippi river, or to Chicago if he 
had a great quantity to sell. The expense of transportation 
taken in connection with the value of his time left little or no 
reward for the farmer who journeyed to market. To Galena 
was a trip of a week or more ; to Chicago, anywhere from four- 
teen to twenty days, and after arriving, his wheat was worth 
but forty or fifty cents a bushel. 38 

Moreover, the pioneer had trouble over his claims. Specu- 
lators, always on the lookout for improved farms, not held by 
good titles, were prone to snap up all such pieces until the 
Claims Associations were formed and by might secured to every 
settler his claim against "land-sharks" or "claim-jumpers." 
After the land sales of 1842 and 1843 these associations, no 
longer needed in this part of Illinois, gradually fell to pieces. 

In spite of these drawbacks there was a Rock river emigra- 
tion fever prevalent in many parts of the country, and settlers 
poured in and scattered themselves along the timbered portions 
until in 1840 the population of the valley had reached 21,500. 39 

After 1843 the country filled up with amazing rapidity and 
in 1850 had in it over 66,000 settlers. 40 No longer did the small 
colonies attract the attention of local historians and our infor- 
mation concerning the development of this part of Illinois must 



»' History of Ogle County, 356. 

38 History of Rock Island County, 225. 

3 9 Seventh Census (1850), 701, 702. 
i0 Ibid., 701, 702. 



146 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 433 

be derived from such things as are deemed of importance by 
those writers. From the growth of the cities also we are able 
indirectly to form some conclusion concerning the growth of the 
agricultural class, for wherever a prosperous agricultural com- 
munity was formed, a town of some importance was close by y 
since the latter must look to the former for support. 

This great increase may be attributed to several causes. The 
Rock river country w T as known as a place of extraordinary 
facilities for agriculture. Those coming during the period 
previous to 1843 had sent extremely favorable reports to the 
East and naturally others followed the lead of the pioneers. 
The financial revulsion was over and money became more plenti- 
ful. Those people who had property in the East and wished to 
move west could now find purchasers and were set at liberty. 
During this period Illinois began to regain her good name, lost 
w T ith the breaking down of her internal improvement scheme, 
and her half notion of repudiation of her debts. Heavy taxes, 
too, had kept many away, but with the re-establishment of her 
finances upon a firm and honorable basis it seems that immi- 
gration began anew. Finally the railroad through from Chicago 
to Galena was, before the close of the decade, an assured fact. 
Many flocked to the neighborhood of its line seeing its value 
as a market maker. 

From 1843 to 1850 is a period of rapid growth, but chiefly in 
the agricultural districts. For example, the river towns of 
Whiteside county show very little growth, while those settlements 
farther inland show a rapid increase. The reason is evident. 
This portion of the county had been settled at the earliest date 
and all the available land had been taken up, consequently the 
new comers moved further up the small streams toward the in- 
terior. In Lee county the number of small settlements increased 
in numbers and in size while Dixon had nearly eight hundred 
inhabitants by 1851. 41 Property valuation had increased as had 
the amount of agricultural products. 42 



41 History of Lee County, 105. 

42 Ileal estate was valued at §215.000; personal property at $168,000, and 
430,000 bushels of small grain were produced each year (Seventh Census 
(1850), 730-2). There were also twelve corporations producing $60,000 worth; 
of articles each year (History of Lee County, 74). 

[147] 



434 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

In the counties of Ogle, DeKalb and Boone there was little 
growth in population. Lack of ready money and of markets as 
well as disputes over land claims operated against the growth 
of settlement. Moreover when the news of the discovery of 
gold in California reached Illinois a number of the farmers left, 
preferring to try their fortune in the far West rather than to 
struggle against the difficulties at home. 43 The population of 
these counties was chiefly of the agricultural class although 
Sycamore, DeKalb and Belvidere were settlements of some im- 
portance, the last having a population of about one thousand. 44 
After 1845 the increase is more marked. 

An examination of the sources of population in the counties 
treated so far shows a decided predominance of immigrants 
from the northern states and a very few from the southern 
states. 45 

In the other northern counties of the valley the increase of 
settlement was more rapid. Winnebago county was in 1850, 
as in 1840, the most populous county of the district, having 
nearly 12,000 inhabitants. 46 Remembering the unfavorable 
conditions prevailing in the county during the early forties, 
this increase of settlement which must necessarily have come 
during the last five or six years of the decade, is remarkable. 
As the railroad across the northern part of the state was to pass 
through the most thriving town in the county, a market and an 
outlet for produce was thereby assured. The outlaw gang had 
been driven from the country, the financial difficulties were re- 
moved and settlements having sprung up all over the county, 
it was no longer a frontier. In these things, we are able to see 
the causes of the thriving condition of the new country scarcely 
two decades old. 

In character the settlers did not differ from those in the other 



43 Boies, History of DeKalb County, 404. 
^Seventh Census (1850), 703. 

45 An examination of the biographies of two hundred and seventy-seven early 
settlers of Whiteside county shows that two hundred and seven came from 
New England and the Middle Atlantic states and hut nine from the southern 
states {History of Whiteside County, 77). Of three hundred and twenty-nine 
in Lee county, two hundred and nineteen were northern men ; many were 
foreigners and a few southerners (History of Lee County, 177). 

46 Seventh Census (1850), 702. 

[148] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 435 

counties of the valley. New Yorkers and New Englanders 
greatly outnumbered the settlers from other places, if Rockford 
and Rockton may be taken as examples. 47 Foreigners were also 
present. 48 i 

Rockford was the metropolis of the northern prairies and en- 
joyed the most rapid and steady growth of any of the towns 
along the Rock river. 49 From a few scattered houses in 1838 
it had grown to a town of 1,500 houses in 1850. 50 Business was 
thriving and numerous stores' were supported by the people of 
the surrounding country because this was the only supply 
depot between Chicago and Galena. The appearance of the 
town was not prepossessing. State street, the business street, 
was "a crooked line of low wooden shops and stores," 51 al- 
though there were some respectable brick stores in the town. 52 
A low wooden bridge separated rather than united the towns 
which were even yet rival encampments instead of parts- of the 
same town. The inhabitants of one town very seldom ventured 
across to the opposite side of the river save on business and the 
adventurers generally came home as quickly as possible. The 
rivalry did not cease until the railroad came and put its depot 
on the west side, which in the minds of the townsmen balanced 
the prestige enjoyed by the east side in the possession of the 
post-office. 

Travelers seem to have been favorably impressed with Rock- 
ford at this date. A correspondent for a New York paper 
praises its location and says, "A better place for investments in 



47 The early homes of eight hundred and seventy-one of Rockford's settlers 
are known. Four hundred and seventy came from New York, two hundred and 
thirty-seven from New England and one hundred and sixty-two from other places 
in Illinois. (Church, History of Rockford, 281.) 

One hundred and two of the early settlers of Rockton are known. Fifty- 
eight were New Englanders ; twenty-three from the Middle states ; eighteen, 
foreigners and the rest from various places. (Carr, History of Rockton, 16.) 

48 A colony of Scotch were at Willow Creek (H&story of Winnebago County, 
454). 

49 Population of Rockford is given as follows ; in 1839, 235 (Church,, His- 
tory of Rockford, 148) ; in 1841, 800 (Chicago Weekly American, Jan. 22, 1841) ; 
in 1845, 1278 (Church, History of Rockford, 281) ; in 1850, 2093 (Seventh Cen- 
sus (1850), 717). ( , j 

60 New York Weekly Tribune, Aug. 30, 1848. 

B1 Goodwin, Commemorative Discourse (Rockford, Aug. 14, 1870). 

62 Church, History of Rockford, 233. 

[149] 



436 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

milling, manufacturing, etc., I did not see in the western 
states." 53 Still another speaks of it as, "one of the most beau- 
tiful and prosperous villages on Rock River" doing a large, 
active business and containing "many fine buildings and 
mills." 54 

The farmers of the adjoining county were rapidly acquiring 
wealth and on the whole were abundantly satisfied with their 
circumstances. They possessed live stock valued at almost 
$270,000 in 1850, and during the preceding year had produced 
786,000 bushels of small grain, 55 a remarkable development when 
one stops to think that fifteen years before there were no farms 
under cultivation in Winnebago county. 

Stephenson county more than kept pace with Winnebago dur- 
ing the decade, receiving about 1,700 more settlers than did the 
latter county and reaching a total population of 11,666. 56 In 
spite of the statements made by the local historians concerning 
the slowness of settlement during the decade 1841-1850, it is 
a fact that this county increased more rapidly than did any 
other county of the valley. 

Immigrants from the Middle States and particularly from 
Pennsylvania formed the greatest part of the early pioneers of 
Stephenson county. The Pennsylvanians were Germans who 
proved themselves to be a substantial, industrious and thrifty 
class of settlers. A typical "Pennsylvania Dutch" colony came 
in 1843 and is described by one of the Pennsylvania papers in 
the following manner. 57 "On Y/ednesday May 31, a company 
of about sixty emigrants passed through this place on their 
way ... to Stephenson county, Illinois. They had four- 
teen wagons, each drawn by an elegant span of horses. . 
They were all from one neighborhood, had plenty of cash and 
appeared in fine spirits." 

The foreign population of the county constantly increased 



5Z New Yorh WeeKly Tribune, Aug. 20, 1S48. 
54 Curtiss, Western Portraiture, 283. 
e5 Seventh Census (1850), 730, 732. 

56 Ibid., 702. 

57 Clarion (Pa.), Register (Extract copied from this paper by The Northwestern 
Gazette and Galena Advertiser, July 7, 1843). 



[150 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 437 

and congregated in and around Freeport. This place had in 
1850 a population of 1,436, 58 one fourth of which were foreign- 
ers, mostly Germans. 59 

As Rockford was the center of the agricultural district of 
"Winnebago county, so was Freeport of Stephenson county. It 
was situated on the Galena-Chicago state road along which the 
proposed railroad was to be built. Its growth was as yet re- 
tarded by the fact that supplies were carried from Galena to 
stock its stores, but the energy and hopefulness of the settlers 
helped to build it up and give it a prominence in the district 
which was to be increased when steam traffic was finally a reality. 
Scattered along the line of the proposed railroad were small 
settlements patiently awaiting the time w T hen they, too, by the 
aid of steam, would become markets for agricultural produce 
and derive benefit from the products of the country. 

To the north and south of the railroad line, wherever a patch 
of timber gave shelter from the heat of summer and the cold 
winds of winter, there could be found a settler's cabin and be- 
fore the end of the period every available bit of timber had 
been claimed. The farmers owned $326,000 worth of live stock, 
and produced 759,000 bushels of small grain in 1850. 60 The 
prairies were, however, still unsubdued if we may judge from 
the amount of unimproved land at this date, there being 123,300 
acres not yet under cultivation and only 76,300 cultivated. 61 
Low prices alone worked to destroy the prosperity of the farmer 
and when not long afterwards a remedy was 1 applied the ad- 
vance made by the district was a rapid one. For a time the 
effect of the gold excitement was noticeable, for between one 
and two hundred settlers left Stephenson county for the "West. 62 

In the discussion of the settlement of the Rock river valley 
there are really but two periods; the first extending to about 
1843 when the revival from financial troubles took place; the 
second extending to the coming of the railroads. The first is 
one of beginnings in which settlement was retarded by both in- 



58 Seventh Census (1850), 715. 

69 Johnston, Sketches of Stephenson County, 79. 

60 Seventh Census (1850), 730, 732. 

61 Johnston, Sketches of Stephenson County, 71. 

62 History of Stephenson County, 283. 

[151] 



438 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

ternal and external influences. Speculators had caused a period 
of 'boom' which collapsed with the weakening of the financial 
system. Troubles over land claims, lack of markets, the pres- 
ence of the ' ' Prairie Pirates ' ' and poor communication with the 
outside world all tended to make this earlier period one of un- 
certainty among the settlers. 

The later period is the one in which the true growth began. 
Finances were again comparatively sound, the people were be- 
coming acquainted with their prairie environments and most of 
all the coming of the railroad was to give them markets. Fully 
appreciating the advantages of the country, and fully realizing 
that in order to take advantage of the opening opportunities 
they would necessarily have to be on the scene at an early date, 
settlers flocked there in thousands, coming to the northern 
counties in the greatest numbers. 63 Likewise in the northern 
counties were located the chief towns, Freeport, Rockford and 
Belvidere. In the southern part of the valley Dixon and Rock 
Island alone had reached the dimensions of towns. 

A glance at the census figures will show the northern counties 
to be developing more rapidly than their southern neighbors. 
The explanation of this lies in the influence which lines of com- 
munication have upon the growth and character of new settle- 
ments. Stage roads lead from Chicago westward across the 
state in various ways to the Mississippi river towns. Chief of 
these was Galena. The road leading to Galena passed to the 
northward from Chicago through Belvidere, Rockford and Free- 
port. Emigrants arriving in Chicago from the East by way of 
the lakes and bound for the Rock river valley seemed inclined 
to select this road to their destination. As an example, Belvi- 
dere, according to the local historian, owed its develop- 
ment to the fact that it was situated on this road. 
Moreover, the railroad was surveyed through these counties and 
the farmers 1 Imew that the value of their produce, to a 



63 Whiteside and Lee counties had a combined population of 17,590 in 1850, 
a gain of 10,400 in the decade ; DeKalb and Boone had about 15,000, having 
gained 11,760 while Winnebago and Stephenson had 33,500 inhabitants which 
was a gain of almost 23,600 for the decade (Seventh Census (1850), 701-2). 



[153] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 439 

great extent, depended upon the expense incurred in getting 
it to market, so they got as close as possible to the new line of 
transportation. 

New Englanclers and New Yorkers were by far the most 
numerous elements in the population. "Pennsylvania Dutch,' ' 
Germans, Norwegians, and English, Irish and Canadians were 
generally grouped in settlements by themselves, but they formed 
a considerable part of the population of some districts, 
especially in Freeport and the northern portions of Stephenson 
county. 

As a result of this influence of New England and the northern 
states, schools and churches rapidly sprang into existence, for 
it was evident that wherever half a dozen families were 
grouped there must be a school and there must be divine services 
if these people were to be contented with their lot in the western 
country. If we could follow their development farther it would 
be seen that but few years indeed elapsed between the log church 
and school house and those of more pleasing and imposing 
appearance. 

However, it must be said that the true development of the 
Bock river valley was just beginning; vast stretches' of prairie 
land still were lying unoccupied and the work of the railroads* 
was yet to be done. The foundations had been laid during the 
period previous to 1850 but the social and industrial develop- 
ment of the region was to be the task of those who were to come 
later, and who by the aid of transportation facilities and im- 
proved farm machinery were to leave the woodlands for the open 
prairies. 



[153] 



440 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN- 



CHAPTER VIII 



Eastern Illinois 



Eastern Illinois is truly the prairie district of the state; and 
in this district settlement developed slowly, but five counties 
having been organized previous to 1830. 1 The period from 1830 
to 1850 was one of beginnings in this part of Illinois. From 
the first appearance of American settlers until the railway had 
developed into a probability, the settlements were sparse, for 
here, too, the prejudice of the pioneers against the prairies dis- 
played itself. Few indeed were the settlers who ventured away 
from the sheltering timber along the rivers and in nearly every 
case the early settlements are to be found on the edge of the 
timber lands. Exceptions, of course, there were but they were 
few. Along the most-traveled roads leading from the Wabash 
river settlements to those along the Illinois river or to Chicago, 
an occasional pioneer more venturesome than the rest built his 
little cabin, but even in such cases he was careful to select some 
spot where timber was close. 

Local historians of eastern Illinois are agreed on the point 
that the scarcity of settlement in that district prior to 1850 was 
due entirely to the inaccessibleness of the country. Mr. Beck- 
with in his History of Vermilion County says there was no settle- 
ment on the prairie until 1849 when a rush of immigration 
came in, in anticipation of the passage of Douglas's Illinois 



1 The counties discussed under the head "Eastern Illinois" are Jasper, Effing- 
ham, Cumberland, Coles, Shelby, Moultrie, Douglas, Edgar, Vermilion, Champaign, 
Piatt, Macon, Logan, DeWitt, McLean, Livingston, Ford, Iroquois and Kanka- 
kee. Of these Vermilion, Edgar, Shelby, Macon, and McLean were organized 
before 1831. 



[154] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 441 




® Towns of over 1,000 inhabitants. 
• Towns of less than 1,000. 

Eastern Illinois (1850) 

North and east of the curved line is the prairie ; less than 20 per cent, woodland. 
Year indicates date of county organization. 



[155] 



442 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

Central Kailr-oad bill, the discussion of which in Congress had 
attracted much attention to the prairie lands of the state. 2 

The combined population of the five counties organized at the 
opening of the period (1830) was less than 14,500 and two- 
thirds of this number were within the limits of Vermilion and 
Edgar counties on the Wabash river. 3 Before the organization 
of the state Edgar county had received settlers and during the 
closing years of the decade 1821-1830 immigrants had poured 
into this portion of the state in increased numbers, distributing 
themselves along the rivers. Generally speaking, these early 
pioneers were from Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and the Caro- 
linas. Directly to the north lay Vermilion county. Here the 
population was grouped in the timber lands along the Vermilion 
river and its tributaries in the southeastern part of the county. 

Danville, the chief town, situated on the Vermilion river 
which, at that time, was navigable for steamboats during a 
great part of the year, had a population of three hundred and 
fifty and was the most important settlement in this part of the 
state. 4 Coal mining which later was to become the great in- 
dustry around the settlement had begun, but only on a small 
scale for the settlers did not comprehend the value of the coal 
fields and instead of claiming great portions were content to 
dig only what they needed for immediate use. 5 

While the early years of the decade 1831-1840 were prosper- 
ous years for central Illinois the spread of population was not 
rapid in either of the Wabash river counties although they both 
increased considerably in numbers of settlers. 6 Al filling-in 
process was going on here instead of an extension of the frontier 
line and the timbered banks of the numerous branches of the 
Wabash which crossed this part of the state were being taken up. 
Timber seemed plentiful and as yet there was no necessity for 



2 Beckwith, History of Vermilion County, 801. 

3 Vermilion and Edgar counties had 5,800 and 4,100 settlers respectively ; 
Shelby county had 3,000 ; Macon county 1,100 ; and McLean county had less 
than one hundred families. Seventh Census (1850), 701, 702. 

4 Danville had six stores, four saw mills, two grist mills, a post-office, a court- 
house and a land office. Illinois Monthly Magazine, 2, 456. 

5 Beckwith, History of Vermilion County, 847. 

6 Some 7,500 settlers were added to the population of the two counties during 
the decade. Seventh Census (1850), 701, 702. 



[156] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 443 

the pioneer to move out into the prairies. Condensation, how- 
ever, was aided by another influence, for early in the thirties' the 
Indian troubles in the north frightened many of the settlers of 
the upper Illinois river counties back to the stronger settlements 
in the south. Here and there in the small groves of northern 
Vermilion county and along the Hubbard trace leading to Chi- 
cago were small settlements which were broken up at the first 
alarm, the settlers moving to safer places and it was some time 
before they dared to return to their former abodes. 

From 1841 to 1850 new forces were at work, tending to at- 
tract settlement to other parts of the state rather than to the 
Wabash river counties. Little timber land was left on the 
eastern side of the state and the ordinary immigrant could not 
afford to pay fancy prices to be allowed to remain in the older 
settled regions. The prairies alone were left in Vermilion and 
Edgar counties and since practically nothing was known con- 
cerning pioneer life on these enormous tracts of unsheltered 
country the pioneer feared to settle on them, thus being prac- 
tically compelled to pass on by the eastern line of settlement 
and head for the timber line of the Illinois and Sangamon 
rivers or northward to the Iroquois and Kankakee. Favorable 
reports, too, came from the interior of the state concerning 
fertile land, fine timber and good water. 

Later in the decade the Douglas Illinois Central Railroad 
bill drew much attention to that portion of the state west from 
Vermilion and Edgar and when the rush of settlers came dur- 
ing the closing years of the decade this influence also operated 
to the detriment of these counties for the railroad was too far 
to the west to come in contact in any way with the Wabash 
river settlements. 

Besides, across the prairie in the neighborhood of the San- 
gamon river, settlements occurred often enough to remove the 
more evident frontier characteristics, but not so often as to leave 
no desirable land for newcomers. In short, central Illinois 
along the western skirts of the great prairie offered more ad- 
vantages to the pioneer at a less expense than did the older 
Wabash settlements and naturally he went there. 

Danville was in 1850, the most important town in this part of 

[ 157 ] 



444 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN" 

the state but it was not a city. In other parts of the state 
Quincy, Galena and Chicago had grown to be cities at this date 
because of developed resources and because of favorable loca- 
tions, but Danville not being a market of consequence, or the 
key to a great transportation line, was dependent upon an un- 
developed resource — coal. When mining was begun on a large 
scale, Danville became a population center of sufficient import- 
ance to be called a city. 

The other settlements of importance in these counties were 
Paris, Georgetown, Grand View, Embarras and Butler's Point. 7 
Paris was the chief town of Edgar county and Georgetown in 
Vermilion county, being the seat of a seminary which for quite 
a time was an educational center of importance, was a settle- 
ment of considerable size in 1850. 8 The population of the two 
counties amounted to over 22,100 souls. 9 

As the pioneers approached the heart of the great prairie, 
the headwaters of those streams flowing into the Wabash, Ohio 
and Mississippi rivers were reached. These tributaries being 
small, unnavigable streams, offered little communication with 
the rest of the state and it was with slow and somewhat uncer- 
tain steps that the settlers ventured from southern Illinois, or 
the Sangamon country, to take possession of the timber lands in 
the prairie. The scanty settlements in this part of the state in 
1830 show how slowly the acquisition of territory was going on. 

Effingham county had but fifty families in 1830, 10 all collected 
in five communities in the timber near the Embarras river; St. 
Marie and Newton settlements near the same stream were the 
settlements of greatest note in Jasper county. The scanty pop- 
ulation of Cumberland county must be attributed to the wet, 
swampy character of the soil, which made it poorly adapted for 
farming land. A settlement of Kentuckians and Tennesseeans 
on Bear Creek was the most important one in the county in 
1830. 11 Coles county had sixty voters in 1831. 12 Moultrie and 



7 Seventh Census (1850), 707. 

8 Beckwith, History o." Vermilion County, 521. 
s Seventh Census (1850), 701-702. 

10 Perrin, History of Effingham County, 12. 

11 History of Cumberland, Jasper and Richland Counties, 112. 

12 History of Coles County, 244. 

[158] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 445 

Douglas 1 counties, not so many. Macon county, on the ex- 
treme eastern side of the Sangamon country, profiting by the 
timbered portions of the streams and by its proximity to the 
older established settlements of Sangamon county, had a con- 
siderable population. The Stevens and Ward settlements, sit- 
uated one on either side of the Sangamon river, near the present 
site of Decatur, were the chief settlements. 13 The greater part 
of the population lay along the river near the above-mentioned 
villages. Decatur was a settlement having no distinction save 
that of having a dozen log cabins and a street filled with 
stumps. 14 

Although De Witt county had settlers in the early twenties, the 
spread of settlement progressed slowly. In 1829 Governor 
Reynolds addressed the voters of the county at a political meet- 
ing which was attended by all the voters for miles around. 
Twenty-five in all came, "a motley crew, half of them at least 
were bare foot, while the best dressed were in their shirt 
sleeves. " 15 Logan, Piatt, Champaign and Ford counties had 
small settlements here and there but with the exception of 
Champaign county they remained unorganized for years. 

McLean county, owing to its abundance of good timber land 
and the fact that it lay close to the older settlements, filled up 
rapidly, especially in the timbered tracts. The names Dry 
Grove, Twin Grove, Blooming Grove and Funk's Grove, tell 
plainly the story of settlement in McLean as well as in other 
counties of this part of Illinois. No settlers ventured away 
from the timber before 1849 or 1850. 16 Blooming Grove, soon 
to become Bloomington, was the most important settlement in 
the county and had twenty families in 1830. 17 Along the Ver- 
milion in Livingston county and at Bunkum and Milford in 
Iroquois were gathered a few families. 

In 1830 Danville, Paris, Blooming Grove and Decatur were 
the only settlements of any size in this part of Illinois. The 
rest of the population was scattered throughout the country in 



13 History of Macon County, 31. 

14 History of Edgar County, 306. 

15 History of DeWitt County, 296. 
10 History of McLean County, 591. 
17 Ibid., 306. 



159 ] 



446 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

the timber lands, practically cut off from the rest of the state, 
.almost destitute of markets and of those commodities generally 
enjoyed by older settlements. 

However, a change was beginning to come about, for agri- 
cultural implements were now of as much importance as the axe 
and the rifle ; and the pioneer began to forsake the bluffs and the 
bottomlands along the rivers and to adapt himself to new en- 
vironments. The outside edge of the timber was found to be 
more convenient than the river banks, for the only chopping 
necessary was for the cabin since nature had made the clear- 
ings long before the coming of the pioneers. Here began a 
period of experimentation in which the pioneer Was to get an 
idea of the possibilities of the great uncultivated fields all around 
him. For a time he felt himself powerless to take advantage 
of them since he had no means by which he could keep in touch 
with the rest of the world. Neither could he solve the problem 
of wood and shelter, when separated from the friendly timber. 

Hard times, lack of markets close at hand, financial distress, 
state debts, high taxation, unfavorable reports spread by dis- 
satisfied pioneers, which tended to keep back settlers, all made 
the task of the prairie man harder through this period from 1830 
to 1850. The railroads had not been built yet and without their 
aid in solving the problem of transportation and communica- 
tion it is small wonder that the pioneers from Kentucky, Tenn- 
essee and Ohio whose experience had all been with the timber 
lands, advanced with caution and even timidity to the task which 
lay before them. 

Turning now to the southern counties of the prairie region, 
the growth of settlement shows that the pioneers of Jasper 
county came principally from Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana with 
some from the eastern and southern states. They were " squat- 
ters" who had been obliged by circumstances to leave the more 
thickly populated districts and begin life again in a new 
country. 18 By 1834 there were enough people to warrant the 
formation of a new county, but the number must have been 
small, since at the first few courts held, the services of nearly 



18 History of Cumberland, Jasper and Richland Counties, 382-383. 

[160] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 447 

all the male inhabitants in the county were required to conduct 
the court proceedings. 19 Land was taken up slowly. In 1836 
there were possibly ten pieces of deeded land in the county and 
conditions remained so until about 1845. 20 Newton, the chief 
village, in 1835 consisted of but four or five families and while 
it had no public buildings, the village was fortunate in having 
a sawmill, an institution highly prized by our pioneer an- 
cestors. 21 The mail came once a week when the water was not 
too high. 

In 1837 an important addition was made to the population of 
the county. For years there had been, in some parts of France, 
a desire among the peasantry to attempt the planting of a colony 
in America. The Picquet families, all well-to-do people, being 
attracted by the plan, sent one of their number to America to 
select and purchase a place suitable for the establishment of a 
colony. After traveling quite extensively through the states of 
the- middle West the agent selected a site in Jasper county and 
returned to France in 1836 to make his report. In the follow- 
ing year a colony of twenty-five people arrived from France, 
purchased 12,000 acres of land and settled at St. Marie, calling 
their settlement the Colonie des Freres 22 In 1840 the settlers 
in the county did not number 1,500 in all. The chief settle- 
ments were Newton and St. Marie. 23 

After 1845 the lands began to be taken up more rapidly and 
new settlers were not so scarce. In the closing years of the dec- 
ade, when the hard times were over and Illinois had voted 
against repudiation and when the railroad seemed more than a 
mere possibility, settlements increased in number. The popula- 
tion of the county numbered in 1850 more than 3,200 souls and 
Newton, the chief center of population, had with its surrounding 
farms a population of more than 1,100. The Crooked Creek, 
North Fork and St. Marie settlements had between four and 
seven hundred settlers each. 24 



™ma., 389. 

20 IUd., 388. 

21 iud., 48i. 

22 IUd., 484. 

23 Seventh Census (1850), 709. 
24 IUd., 709. 



11 [ 161 



448 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

Cumberland comity, directly north of Jasper, was settled to 
some extent by 1830, but was not organized until 1843, since the 
development, like that of Jasper, was slow during these years. 
Like Jasper, too, the greater part of the county was not in the 
hands of actual settlers until about I860. 25 

The beginning of work on the National Road through this 
county in 1832 gave an impetus to immigration and attracted 
not a few settlers to its immediate vicinity, most of whom came 
from NeHv York and Ohio. 26 Greenup, located on the Embarras 
river where it was crossed by the Old National Road, was the 
most desirable place for settlement, and by 1840 it was a thriv- 
ing village with mills and business advantages superior to any 
other settlement for miles around. 27 In 1850 its population 
numbered more than nine hundred. 28 

Outside of Greenup, the county filled up slowly and before 
1850 settlement was at a standstill. Cholera visited this part 
of Illinois during the forties and added to the difficulties beset- 
ting the pioneers and when the news of the discovery of gold in 
California came, quite a number of the settlers left. 29 

Although there were no public buildings in Cumberland 
county for several years, owing to the inability of the inhabitants 
to decide upon a county town, 30 it was very well supplied with 
school-houses. One church, built of logs, was the only house of 
worship in 1840. 31 

Immediately after the close of our period, a time of prosperity 
began, for the land warrants issued by the United States gov- 
ernment to the soldiers' of the Mexican War were converted into 
holdings by the soldiers themselves, or had passed into the 
hands of others desiring land and in the years following 1850 
nearly every acre in the county was taken up. 32 The population 
of the county in this year was a few more than 3,700. 33 



25 History of Cumberland, Jasper and Richland Counties, 105. 
2G Ibid., 113-114. 

27 Ibid., 123. 

28 Seventh Census (1850), 706. 

29 History of Cumberland, Jasper and Richland Counties, 114. 

30 Ibid., 136. 
"^Ibid., 172. 

32 Ibid., 114. 

33 Seventh Census (1850), 701. 



[162 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 449 

In 1831 Effingham county was organized and during the 
early part of the decade increased in population quite rapidly, 
especially along the National Eoad which crossed the county. 
A census taken in 1835 credits Effingham county with about 
1,000 settlers and two hundred acres of improved farm lands. 34 
Soon after, owing to the arrival of the German colony which set- 
tled at Teutopolis, the land market was active and a consider- 
able amount of land was taken up. 

In 1837 Teutopolis was located and at once became a settle- 
ment of importance and the nucleus of the foreign population 
of the county. A company of Germans, one hundred and forty 
in number, was formed in Cincinnati for the purpose of found- 
ing a settlement in some western state. The subscribers were to 
pay ten dollars a month until a sum of $16,000 had been raised. 
In the meantime an investigating and exploring committee was 
appointed to select a suitable place for a town. This committee, 
after tramping through a considerable part of Indiana and Ill- 
inois, decided upon Effingham county as the most desirable lo- 
cation, and reported it to the company as such. The company 
bought 10,000 acres of land and laid out a town whose main 
street was the National Road. 

In 1838 the settlers began to arrive, some coming directly 
from Germany and others from the German settlements around 
Cincinnati. Those from the latter place came by water to St. 
Louis and then by wagons to Teutopolis, a distance of one hun- 
dred miles. 35 In all there were ninety families. 36 From time 
to time other families came and settled in the neighborhood. 
Douglas, 37 St. Francis 38 and Liberty townships were centers of 
German settlement. The latter had a varied population, how- 
ever, numbering 'New Englanders, Buckeyes, Southerners, 
Hoosiers, English, Irish and Poles' along with its Germans. 39 

Although the county had 3,700 inhabitants in 1850, 40 it had 



34 Pen-in, History of Effingham County, 56. 

35 Ibid., 251. 

36 Salsbacher, Meine Beise nach der Vereinigten Btaaten, 229, note. 

37 lXmglas township had forty-four adult male Germans in 1840. Perrin, 
Effingham County, 147. 
™IM&. 3 232. 
^Ibld., 239. 
*<> Seventh Census (1850), 701. 

[163] 



450 BULLETIN" OF THE TTNIVEBSITY OF WISCONSIN 

not a single church and not until 1852 was a house of worship 
erected. When the first church was built, it was a simple log 
structure and was made to serve as both school-house and church 
and was free to all denominations. 41 

The beginnings of settlement were made in Shelby county 
before 1830 and at that date the county had already been or- 
ganized and had nearly 3,000 settlers. The early date of set- 
tlement may be explained by the fact that the county is well 
watered and well timbered since it is drained by many tribu- 
taries of the Kaskaskia river. The increase in the number of 
settlers during the twenty years amounted to 4,800. Moultrie 
county, however, had been cut off from Shelby county in 1843 
which serves in part to account for the small increase in the 
number of settlers. Moultrie county's population in 1850 was 
a few more than 3,200. 42 

By far the greater number of the pioneers of these two counties 
came from states west of the Alleghanies, which seems to 
indicate that in this part of Illinois the absence of lines of com- 
munication with the far eastern states served to limit the classes 
of settlers to those who came from neighboring states. 43 

At the first election held after the organization of Coles 
county in 1831, sixty votes were cast. 44 At the end of the de- 
cade the population numbered 9,000, Mattoon and Charleston 
being the chief towns. 45 Unfavorable conditions existed in the 
county but the number of settlers increased in spite of the lack 
of markets and the existing poor prices. 46 In 1850 there were 
eight townships claiming between seven and fourteen hundred 
settlers each. Charleston was a village of importance, having 



41 Perrin, History of Effingham County, 176. 

42 For population of Shelby and Moultrie counties see Seventh Census (1850), 
701-702. 

43 The biographies of four hundred and fifty pioneers of Shelby and Moultrie 
counties have been examined with the following results. Ninety-five settlers 
came from Ohio, eighty-seven from Kentucky, seventy from Tennessee, sixty- 
six from other parts of Illinois, forty from the southern states, thirty-six from 
Indiana and a few were foreigners and from the eastern states. History of 
Shelby and Moultrie Counties, 319-333. 

^History of Coles County, 244. 

45 Seventh Census (1850), 705. 

48 Corn sold for eight cents a bushel and wheat for twenty-five cents. A cow 
and a calf brought eight dollars and good horses were bought for forty dol- 
lars. History of Coles County, 460. 

[164] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830~50 451 

eight hundred and fifty inhabitants. 47 School houses had been 
erected at various places in the county and Charleston had a 
church and a newspaper office. 48 The settlers came chiefly from 
Kentucky with some representatives from Virginia, Tennessee, 
the Carolinas and the states of the Middle West. 49 

Champaign county owing to its location in the heart of the 
great prairie district, did not fill up rapidly, for timber was 
scarce. Permanent settlements were few before the Black Hawk 
War but after danger from the Indians had passed settlements 
sprang up in the timber. Urbana, Mahomet, Neweomb, St. 
Joseph, Condit and Sidney all had settlers by 1840 50 when the 
population of the county amounted to about 1,500 people. 51 

Urbana, the county town, was the most important settlement 
and boasted of having a store in 1834. The goods sold here had 
been purchased in Philadelphia, carted over the mountains to 
Pittsburg and shipped down the Ohio to Evansville, Indiana, 
from which place they were brought to Urbana by wagons. 
Owing to the heavy cost of transportation, it is not surprising 
to learn that calico and the coarsest kind of brown muslin brought 
prices varying from thirty-five to fifty cents a yard. Other 
articles sold at correspondingly high prices. 52 Among the 
settlers of Urbana were numbered a physician, a preacher, 
a lawyer and still more important personages for frontier set- 
tlements, a blacksmith and a wagon maker. 53 

In the next decade the population of the county increased to 
about 2,700 souls with Urbana and Homer as the chief towns, 
neither of which had more than two hundred settlers. 54 Cham- 
paign, now by far the most important city of the county, had not 
a single settler, being entirely the product of the railroad which 
crossed the county in the next decade. 

While Champaign was not a frontier county in 1850, and 
while it was a large county with exceedingly fertile land, the 



"Seventh Census (1850), 705. 

48 History of Coles County, 318-322. 

49 IUd., 500. 

50 Lothrop, Champaign County Directory, 373-428. 

51 Seventh Census (1850), 701. 

52 Lothrop, Champaign County Directory, 124. 

53 Ibid., 439. 

64 Seventh Census (1850), 701-705. 

[165] 



452 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

population was much smaller than that of many other counties 
located in the northern or western parts of the state. The slow 
settlement can be attributed to two things; the lack of lines of 
communication with the populous eastern states, and the 
scarcity of timber land. The pioneers had not by 1850 learned 
the solution of the problems of the prairie and those who came 
to eastern Illinois sought places where timber was more plenti- 
ful than here. 

The earliest settlers had come to De Witt county before 1830 
but the organization of the county did not take place until 
1839, owing to the small number of inhabitants. The Salt 
Creek settlement, now known as Farmer City, had but four 
families in 1832 and the nearest neighbors were ten miles away. 
In 1839 the number of families' had grown' to nineteen. 55 De Witt 
and Clinton villages had their first houses erected in 1835 and 
1836. 56 By 1840 the former had a store, a mill, a hotel, a post- 
office and a church which made it a town of much importance 
in the county. 57 In 1840 the population of the county was 
about 3,250 and in 1850 it was 5,000; Clinton and Waynesville 
with from three to four hundred inhabitants each, being the 
principal settlements. 58 

The nativities of the pioneers of De Witt county show that 
the early settlers came chiefly from the states of the Middle 
West, the representatives of the eastern states being few. 59 

The settlement of Piatt county began in 1830 when some 
settlers came from Ohio. The county government was organ- 
ized in 1840 with Monticello, a village of one hundred inhabi- 
tants, as the county town. 60 Settlement increased but slowly 
in the county and in 1850 the population was but 1,600. 61 

Macon county which at the opening of this period had 1,100 



55 History of De Witt County, 214-215. 

56 Ibid., 151. 

57 Ibid., 287. 

53 Seventh Census (1850), 706. 

59 Of two hundred and sixty settlers who came to De Witt county before 1850, 
ninety-five came from Ohio, thirty-eight from Kentucky, thirty frotm other parts 
of Illinois, twenty-two from New York, twenty from Indiana, eighteen from 
Tennessee and seven from New England. History of De Witt County, 339. 

60 Norris and Gardiner, Illinois Annual Register (1847), 105. 

61 Seventh Census (1850), 702. 



[166] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 453 

Inhabitants, had in 1840, over 3,000 and in 1850 about 4,000. 62 
Decatur was the chief town but enjoyed a rather unsteady 
growth. It was begun in 1825 and was still a hamlet in 1836. 
In spite of the fact that from 1836 to 1842 the state of Illinois 
went through her darkest days, Decatur experienced her best 
ones until after 1850. During this period the growth of the 
village was comparatively rapid, owing to a belief among the 
people that a railroad was soon to be built through the town. 
In 1842 its population had reached five hundred, and here the 
decline set in because of the vanishing hope concerning the 
proposed railroad. 63 Through the rest of our period the town 
was at a standstill and to some extent this seems true of the 
county as a whole, for the gain of one thousand inhabitants in 
a period of ten years does not seem a great deal for a county 
wiiich was situated in a rich agricultural district and no longer 
on the frontier. From its proximity to the Sangamon country 
and owing to its early settlement, it seems probable that a great 
part of the population was from the southern states, having 
followed up the Sangamon river. 64 

McLean county, fortunate in having a liberal supply of 
timber besides fertile prairie land, was an ideal country for new 
settlers. As a result of these advantages the county which had 
but ninety-three families at the time of its organization in 1830, 
had, by the end of the decade, over 6,500 settlers, and by 1850 
had reached the 10,000 mark. 65 To the natural advantages 
favoring McLean county there was one drawback which was of 
a serious nature, and that was the lack of a handy market. 
Chicago was the market for stock, and those farmers who had 
produce to sell were of necessity forced to carry it to Chicago — 
everything which could walk, sheep, hogs, horses, cattle, turkeys 
and geese, was driven. Occasionally other places served as 



62 Ibid., 702. 

63 History of Macon County, 116. 

64 Information here is inadequate. The nativities of fifty-five lawyers and 
judges have been recorded by a local historian. Twenty-four came from the 
South Atlantic States, seventeen from Kentucky and Tennessee, five from the 
Middle Atlantic States, two from New England, two from western states, and 
two were foreigners. History of Macon County, 31. 

65 Seventh Census (1850), 702. 



[167] 



454 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

markets but it seems to have been a general rule to trade at 
Chicago. 

Although McLean county was considered as a frontier county 
as late as 1840, yet it had some settlements of importance before 
this date. Big Grove had one hundred and fifty families, Dry 
Grove had fifty, Cheney's Grove had twenty-four and Bloom- 
ington had four hundred and fifty inhabitants. 66 Besides these, 
there were two or three settlements made by colonies formed in 
the East. 

In 1830 a company in Butler county, Ohio, sent an agent to 
Illinois to select and buy land preparatory to the establishment 
of a settlement. The instructions were carried out and in the 
fall of the year the colony, comprising five families in all, set- 
tled in Dale township. 67 

Five years later another enterprise of the same sort was be- 
gun, but on a much larger scale. This time the promoters 
were Rhode Island men and their plan was to open up the 
western lands and settle enterprising farmers, merchanics and 
tradesmen upon them. A charter was obtained from the state 
and a company formed with a capital stock of $12,500. Each 
subscriber was to receive three hundred and twenty acres of 
land and four lots in the village of Mount Hope. In 1837 
fifteen families left Rhode Island and Massachusetts and settled 
upon their Illinois claims. A few houses were erected but 
owing to the panic of 1837 the plan never succeeded well and 
practically fell through. Eight thousand acres of land were, 
however, taken up and entered by the company. 68 

A similar fate overtook the Hudson colony in the same year. 
The Illinois Land Association, as it was called, was organized 
at Jacksonville in February, 1836. In the name of one of the 
promoters, nearly all the township of Hudson was entered. 
The plan was to get subscribers for the company at two hun- 
dred and thirty-five dollars per share. Each share entitled the 
holder of the certificate to one hundred and sixty acres of land 



66 History of McLean County, 330. 

^ ima., 612. 

68 History of McLean County, 579; Duis, Good Old Times in McLean County, 
736. 



[168] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 455 

besides twenty acres of timber for fencing, building and fuel, 
and also four town lots in the village of Hudson which, was to 
be built upon the company's land. Since the greater part of 
the timber land of the county had already been settled upon, 
the agreement concerning the allotment of timber to each sub- 
scriber could not be fulfilled and some dissatisfaction arose 
therefrom, causing a number to withdraw. Twenty of the 
stockholders became settlers in 1837 but the financial trouble 
of that year put an end to the scheme. The settlers and pro- 
moters were from Hudson, New York. 69 

Bloomington, it was believed in the early days, would never 
be a town of any importance since stone, timber, coal, water 
power and navigable waters, which were thought to be neces- 
sities for a successful settlement, were not to be found in any 
quantities near its site. Its growth, however, was a steady one, 
save only in the period of depression following 1837. From a 
village of eighty inhabitants in 1831 70 it increased to one hun- 
dred and eighty in 1834 and four hundred and fifty by 1836. 71 
The population had increased to six hundred in 1840 in spite 
of the unfavorable conditions existing at the time. 72 During 
the next three years, however, the little town suffered. Lands 
and town lots became almost worthless; improved land could 
be bought for a dollar and a quarter an acre. 73 By 1843 every 
merchant had been forced into bankruptcy, money was scarce, 
farm produce was well-nigh worthless, emigration began among 
those who could get away and immigration had practically 
ceased. Much property was forfeited because of the inability 
of the owners to pay taxes. 74 From this date times improved 
and the village again began to grow. The small, irregular, 
sparsely settled town developed from one of 600 in 1840 
to one of 1,600 in 1850, while the precinct outside of the 
town had an additional 1,000 settlers. Several other settle- 
ments in the county had more than seven hundred settlers. 75 



69 History of McLean County, 603. 
™Ibid., 316. 

71 Duis, Good Old Times in McLean County, 45. 

72 History of McLean County, 335. 
^Ibid., 336. 

74 McLean County Historical Society Publications, 1, 409. 

75 Seventh Census (.1850), 712. 

[169] 



456 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

Most of the early pioneers came from western states; Ohio 
and Kentucky sending the greatest numbers. 76 

Of the northern counties of eastern Illinois, Livingston and 
Iroquois counties were organized before 1850. In Kankakee 
county, then a part of Will county, was a settlement of interest. 
It was a Canadian community, established by Noel Yasseur, 
and for a time it nourished. Later, Americans came and filled 
up the surrounding county, but Bourbonnais as late as 1879 
still preserved to a great extent the customs and appearances of 
a genuine Canadian village. In its best days possibly 6,000 or 
7,000 people lived there in their quiet cottages, grouped about 
the church, college, and convent. 77 The census of 1850 credits 
the village with a population over 1,700. 78 

While Livingston county was still a part of McLean county, 
settlements were started in it and by 1832 the Eook Creek, Belle 
Prairie and Indian Grove settlements each had a few pioneers. 
At Pontiac and Amity, and in Oswego and Forrest townships, a 
few settlers grouped themselves during the next few years. 79 

Pontiac, one of the two important settlements, was located by 
New Yorkers who erected their cabins at this place in 1833. 
Four years later the town was surveyed, platted and lots sold 
at five dollars each. In 1850 a whole block in the same town 
could be bought for ten dollars and if it was an unusually de- 
sirable one perhaps twenty dollars would be required to pro- 
cure it. In 1835 a few families from Ohio, Yermont and New 
York joined those already in Pontiac and three years later the 
first substantial addition was made in the shape of a colony 
of seventeen persons from New York. 80 

A decade later the village presented the same appearance, 
having experienced no growth whatever. Half a dozen cabins, 



76 Of two hundred and sixty pioneers who came to McLean county before 1850, 
sixty-one came from Kentucky, sixty from Ohio, thirty from Virginia, four- 
teen from Pennsylvania, thirteen each from New York and Tennessee and ten 
from North Carolina. Only thirteen were New Englanders, eighty-eight from 
the other Atlantic states, while one hundred and fifty were from the states west 
of the mountains. Duis, Good Old Times in McLean County, 125-865. 

77 American Catholic Quarterly Review, 4, 598. 

78 Seventh Census. (1850), 716. 

79 History of Livingston County, 295-405. 

80 Ibid., 300-301. 



[170 



POOLE Y SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 457 

so hidden away in the bushes as to be almost invisible, and a 
court house composed the town of Pontiac. So insignificant 
was this county town at this date that, it is said, travelers some- 
times inquired of its residents the distance to Pontiac. Its 
population in 1849 was seventy-eight souls. 81 

To the township of Amity must be accorded the honor of 
being the most important center of population in Livingston 
county prior to 1850. Settled first in 1833, its population num- 
bered two hundred in 1843 and about two hundred and fifty 
in 1850. 82 Many of the settlers had come from Ohio and were 
decidedly above the class of pioneers generally found on the 
frontier. 83 

Besides these two settlements, but little else existed until along 
into the fifties, for the true development of the county dates 
from 1854, when the Chicago and Alton built its line. 84 The 
opening of the Illinois and Michigan canal in 1848 served to 
bring some settlers from northern Ohio and Indiana and 
southern Michigan, but the number was not large. 85 Settle- 
ment had not left the line of the Vermilion river by 1850 and 
even where so closely grouped this ribbon of settlement over 
the county did not exceed five miles in width. Beyond these 
limits occasional settlements were found but the largest ones 
had but four or five families each. 86 

Development in all lines seems to have been slow. In 1847 
not a store existed in Livingston county, the nearest approach 
to such an institution being a peddler who made monthly trips 
from Ottawa, supplying from his wagon the needs of every 
family in the county. The mediums of exchange acceptable 
were feathers, ginseng and deer skins. 87 The population in 1850 
was 1,550, 88 the least of any county in Illinois. 

The history of settlement in Iroquois county is a repetition of 
that of the other prairie counties. Scattered settlements are 



81 /6M., 300-301. 

s2 Ibid., 406-411; Seventh Census (1850), 711. 

83 History of Livingston County, 411. 

84 Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, 341. 

85 History of Livingston County, 534. 
S6 Ibid., 422. 

37 Ibid., 245. 

83 Seventh Census (1850), 702. 



[171 



458 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

found along several of the wooded streams. The Kiekapoo and 
the Pottawatomie Indians remained in the county until the years 
1836 and 1837 and while they were friendly undoubtedly their 
presence served to retard settlement, for the Indian scare of 1832 
was still fresh in the minds of the frontiersmen. 89 

Several colonies of some note came during the years 1834 and 
1835. First to come was a Pennsylvanian colony numbering 
thirty-t'wo people, all of whom were owners of considerable 
property. They settled at Milford, and two years later were 
joined by a party of Virginians. 90 In 1835 a colony of Nor- 
wegians came, but in selecting a spot for settlement this colony 
was unfortunate and hit upon a place which was unhealthfuL 
Sickness broke out among them and, discouraged by the outlook, 
the entire colony, numbering thirty people, left Beaver Creek 
in 1837 and went to Wisconsin. 91 

One example of a "paper town," we find in Iroquois county 
in 1835 during the period of the craze for speculation which 
swept over the country during the thirties. A company, known 
as the Plato company, bought some land, laid out a town and 
advertised it in New York and Boston as "the head of naviga- 
tion on the Iroquois" and "one of the handsomest locations for 
a city in the world." Some lots were sold for higher prices 
than Chicago lots commanded but the undertaking proved a 
failure. 92 

Various small settlements were made during the decade but 
the settlers clung closely to the timber and remained there until 
the Illinois Central Railroad crossed the county. 93 The pio- 
neers came chiefly from Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky but repre- 
sentatives from Pennsylvania, Virginia, Canada and Europe 
were also present. The population in 1850 had reached 4,100. 94 

In 1830 the population of the counties of eastern Illinois 
amounted to 14,000 souls; in 1850 it numbered over 87,500, 



89 Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, 299. 

90 History of Iroquois County, 138. 
01 Ibid., 339. 

■» 2 Ioid., 3SS. 
93 Settlements were located at Onarga, Ash Grove, Belmont, Upper Spring 
Creek, Lower Spring Creek and in Middlefort, Del Rey, Concord, Iroquois and 
Stockland townships. Ibid., 209-480 ; pt. II, 7-12. 
84 Seventh Censm (1850), 702. 

[ire] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 459 

which seems small when the immense tract of land over which 
it was scattered is thought of. Little of the population was 
urban for in all this region there were but four settlements 
claiming more than one thousand inhabitants, and but nine 
more having over seven hundred and fifty. 95 

The reason for the lack of towns seems 1 a simple one; cities 
spring up either where natural resources are to be exploited 
or where business will naturally concentrate. Industry in 
eastern Illinois was wholly argicultural and the products were 
stock and grain. The great requirement was a market, and 
inland towns such as Bloomington could not furnish it, because 
there were no lines of transportation, whereby the accumulated 
produce could be transferred to another larger market for dis- 
tribution. Consequently a city could not exist in this agricul- 
tural region save only with an outlet. When the railroads were 
built from Chicago south and southwest, tapping this agricul- 
tural region, prosperity was assured and a market placed close 
at hand for the farmer. The produce buyers of the inland 
towns no longer feared an accumulation of goods either agri- 
cultural or mercantile. The farmer, able to dispose of his pro- 
duce, was inclined to buy more merchandise and the dealer 
realized his profits. Business increased with the increase of 
markets for farm produce, which was the work of the railroads. 

The influence of timber upon the location of settlement is 
noticeable in this part of the state. 96 Even in 1850 the pioneer 
felt safest when reinforced by a friendly strip of timber, and 
at this date the process of taking up the woodlands was still 
under way. In the southern and central counties these timber 
tracts had been wholly taken up and around each patch of 
timber was a circle of cabins whose occupants cultivated that 
part of the prairie lying close by. Where the well-traveled 
roads, such as the Hubbard trace or the National Eoad, crossed 
the prairie, there were always found a string of settlers' cabins. 
The filling up process which was to go on in the spaces inter- 



93 Bloomington and Newton were the largest towns. 

86 Note the location of the county towns of eastern Illinois. Effingham, Dan- 
ville, Charleston, Shelbyville, Sullivan, Decatur, Monticello, Urbana, Clinton, 
Bloomington, Pontiac, Watseka and Kankakee, were situated in the timber along 
the streams. 



[173] 



460 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

vening between the timber settlements had thus begun but as* 
yet could not be carried on with any rapidity since transporta- 
tion was no easier than before. On the northern frontier the 
timber had not all been claimed and here the development of 
settlement was not so far advanced as farther south. Besides 
in the northeastern counties of eastern Illinois the swampy 
lands practically prohibited settlement and it was not until 
these swamps were drained that the counties were settled with 
any degree of density. 

An examination of the nativities of the early pioneers dis- 
closes a different state of affairs than existed in southern Ill- 
inois or in northern Illinois. It differs from southern Illinois 
in the fact that a considerable number of settlers came from the 
states north of the Ohio, but west of the mountains. In com- 
paring the population with that of the northern counties it 
is found that the percentage of settlers from New England or 
the Middle Atlantic states is much smaller in eastern Illinois 
than in the northern section of the state. Here there were no 
great trunk lines of transportation to influence settlement and 
since many of the pioneers came from the neighboring states, 
it seems reasonable to believe that the settlement of this part of 
Illinois was the result of a natural movement of the agricul- 
tural classes such as has taken place within recent decades from 
those states east of the Mississippi river to Kansas, Nebraska, 
Minnesota and the Dakotas. The impelling force was not one 
which caused whole communities to move, but a force which 
came from the belief that conditions for the accumulation of 
wealth were better "farther west." 97 



97 The biographies of 1,138 early settlers in this part of the state have been 
examined with the following results ; two hundred and eighty came from Ohio, 
two hundred and ten from Kentucky, one hundred and six from Tennessee, 
eighty from Indiana, eighty from other parts of Illinois, one hundred and sixty 
from the southern states, eighty from the Middle Atlantic states and but a few 
from New England. Six hundred and seventy-seven came from the four western 
states, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee, and four hundred and sixty-on& 
from other places. 



[174] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 461 



CHAPTER IX 



The Lead Region 



Long before the rest of northern Illinois received any settlers 
the lead district had been explored. Hennepin's map of 1687 
locates a mine in the neighborhood of the present site of Galena 
and it is said that the French traders at Peoria purchased lead 
from the Indians as early as 1690. 1 A map of Louisiana pub- 
lished in 1703 shows plainly the location of Dubuque's mines 
west of the Mississippi and also the Galena mines. 2 Forty years 
later a score of miners eked a scanty existence here by means 
of surface mining. 3 In 1769 Martin Duralde received a conces- 
sion of land on Le Seuer's River of Mines for the purpose of 
mining 4 and after a lapse of nearly twenty years Julien Du- 
buque appeared in the region and began mining on both sides of 
the Mississippi, working 'diggings' as far east as Apple River. 5 

It soon became known to the Americans that valuable lead 
mines existed in this region and accordingly negotiations were 
entered into with the Indians for the purchase of a tract of 
land fifteen miles square, to be located somewhere on the right 
bank of the Mississippi. In 1804 the treaty was signed 6 and 
Congress passed a law providing for leasing the tract for terms 
not to exceed five years. No leases were made, however, until 
1822. 7 Now the miners began to come one by one, to share in' 



1 Thwaites, Notes on Early Le'admining, in Wis. Hist. Collections, 13, 272. 

-ma., 274. 

s Ibid., 276. 
*Ibid., 278. 

5 Ibid., 280. 

6 Davidson and Stuve, Illinois, 346. 

7 Washburne, Lead Region and Lead Trade of the Upper Mississippi in Hunt's 
Merchant's Magazine, 18, 288. 



[ 175 ] 



462 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVEESITY OF WISCONSIN 

the industry which the Indians carried on to the best of their 
ability. 8 In 1816 the first boat load of lead — seventy tons — was 
sent down the river. 9 Col. Davenport, of Rock Island, an agent 
for the American Fur Company, established a trading post at 
Portage near the mouth of Fever river. 10 

Even now the United States government had not convinced 
itself of the exact location of the mines, for in the treaty con- 
cluded with the Indians, August 24, 1816 at St. Louis, when all 
lands lying north of a line drawn due west from the southern 
extremity of Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River were con- 
ceded to the Indians, a reservation of five leagues square on the 
same river was made by the treaty. This reservation was to be 
designated at some later time by the President and it seems 
evident that the sole object of this reservation was to obtain 
control of the lead mines whenever their location could be defi- 
nitely determined. 11 

The exact date of the first permanent settlement by whites 
in this region is not known. Boutilier, 12 Shull and Muir were 
probably here before 1820 and tradition has it that a man named 
January had for some years previous conducted a trading post 
at the mines. 13 In 1819 an expedition consisting of six or eight 
boats carrying possibly one hundred men left St. Louis under 
-the command of Col. R. M. Johnson bound for Fever river. 
After a slow trip of twenty days it reached Galena and the 
business of making a treaty with the Indians was accomplished 
after a parley of nine days. This negotiation concluded, "the 
mines were then for the first time opened for civilized enter- 
prise." 14 

For three years little or no addition was made to the settle- 
ment. Estimates of the size of the settlement vary 15 probably 



8 Thwaites, Notes on Early Leadmining, in Wis. Hist. Collections, 13, 285. 

9 Personal Recollections of Col. John Shaw, in Wis. Hist. Collections, 2, 228. 

10 History of Jo Daviess County, 233. 

11 Thwaites, Notes on Early Leadmining, in Wis. Hist. Collections, 13, 286. 

12 Davidson and Stuve, Illinois, 34G. 

13 History of Jo Daviess County, 231. 

14 Bonner, Life and Adventures of Beclavourth, 20. 

15 Tenny, Early Times in Wisconsin, in Wis. Hist. Collections, 1, 95, says there 
•were but two cabins at the mines; the author of The Hi&tory of Jo Daviess 
County (228), gives the number of cabins as ten or twelve. 



[176] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 463 

owing to the instability of the mining population'; but with the 
arrival of Col. Johnson 'with his band of slaves 16 the rapid 
growth of population in the region begins. The first steam- 
boat came up the Fever river in this year and the shipment of 
lead in considerable quantities began. With the increase of 
this product, the increase of population advanced. 17 During the 
years 1821, 1822 and 1823 an aggregate of 335,000 pounds was 
shipped from here; by 1827 it had increased to over 5,000,000 
pounds and by 1829 to 13,344,150 pounds. 18 which appears to 
have been the high water mark of export. 

In 1824 two events of considerable importance happened; 
the establishment of a store in the village 19 and the arrival of 
the first colony of settlers. Up to this time the settlers were 
entirely dependent upon the supplies which they brought with 
them or upon those brought by the boats which occasionally 
came to the mines. The building of a store shifted a responsi- 
bility which, in all pioneer communities, was one of great weight 
and especially so in the case of the miners whose nearest neigh- 
bors at this time were at Peoria on the Illinois river. The 
colony hailed from Cincinnati and consisted of forty-three 
people under the leadership of Dr. Meeker. 20 The voyage from 
Cincinnati had consumed sixty days but this was considered 
good time for a keel-boat. Upon their arrival they found a 
settlement of about one hundred miners. 21 

Immigration now flowed in rapidly and the fifteen mile 
boundary prescribed by the treaty of 1816 was overstepped. 
Here and there in the surrounding country, at Shullsburg, 
East Fork and New Diggings, were grouped little mining 
camps, 22 and when the season opened in 1826 nearly two hundred 
men were digging in the vicinity of Galena. 23 The number in- 



16 Johnson brought between one hundred and one hundred and fifty slaves with 
him. (History of Jo Daviess County, 243.) 

17 Chicago Evening Post, Sept. 5, 1896. 

13 Illinois and her Resources, in Hunt's Merchants' Magazine, 5, 434. 

19 Galena and its LeadmineS, in Harper's Magazine, 32, 692. 

20 History of Jo Daviess County, 238/; Meeker, Early History of the Lead Re- 
gion of Wisconsin, in Wis. Hist. Collections, 6, 276. 

21 History of Jo Daviess County, 242. 

22 Davidson and Stuv£, Illinois, 346. 

** House Executive Documents, 19 Congress, 1 Sess., 2, 7. 



12 [ 177 



464 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OP WISCONSIN 

creased to over four hundred in June 24 and by the coming fall 
five hundred and fifty were there. 25 In the whole region it was 
estimated that nearly sixteen hundred men were at work by 
this time. 26 Fever River post office, of Crawford county, Ill- 
inois was established in 1826 27 and the mail came from Vandalia 
once every two weeks. 2S Fever Eiver voting precinct, contain- 
ing all the voters in the mining region as far north as Michigan, 
was also established in the same year, 29 and at the first election 
two hundred and two votes were cast. 30 The tax collector for 
this settlement resided at Peoria and for a time could do no 
more towards the completion of his task than to record the 
names of the tax payers for the miners openly defied him and 
refused to pay taxes. 31 

Although Kellog's trail and Bolle's trail were the great lines 
of communication with the interior of the state, the most in- 
teresting accession to the population of the mining district came 
from the north. In the year 1821 Lord Selkirk's Swiss colony 
had come to America and settled in the far-away valley of the 
Red River of the North. For a period of five years they ex- 
perienced many hardships, and becoming dissatisfied with their 
lot, a part left for the South, settling in St. Louis, still another 
part came to Galena in the autumn of 1826 and being financially 
well-to-do these new arrivals proved welcome additions to the 
settlement. 32 

The fame of the lead mines spread abroad and the year 1827 
saw a noticeable increase in the numbers of immigrants. House 
after house was built and in place of the twenty cabins reported 
by the mayor of Galena in 1826, 33 with their five hundred and 
fifty inhabitants, there were now more than one hundred houses 
and stores, 34 and between 6,000, and 7,000 people residing in 



24 IUd. 

25 History of Jo Daviess County, 265. 

26 Davidson and Stuve, Illinois, 346. 

27 History of Jo Daviess County, 246. 

28 Davidson and Stuv6, Illinois, 346. 

29 History of Jo Daviess County, 247. 

30 History of Ogle County, 249. 

31 IUd. 

32 Chetlain, Recollections of Seventy Years, 

33 Mies' Register, 63, 388. 

34 History of Jo Daviess County, 253. 

[178] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 465 

the district. 35 The population at this date was also becoming 
more stable. Americans, Irish and French predominated, al- 
though in 1827 36 there came the first representative of a nation- 
ality which was soon to form an important element in the min- 
ing country. The new-comer was a Cornishman and, having 
emigrated from the lead mining region of England, naturally 
sought out that portion of the United States where he could to 
the best advantage pursue his vocation. From 1830 to 1850 
the Cornish population in this region increased rapidly. 37 

Through the unwise action of some of the miners the Winne- 
bago war 3S broke out in 1827 and although the consequences 
were not serious much inconvenience was experienced by those 
miners living at some distance from Galena. All operations 
ceased at the first alarm and the miners hurried to the settle- 
ment where they were compelled to remain for some time ex- 
periencing actual hardships owing to inclement weather, scar- 
city of provisions and the limited accommodations for housing 
the additional population. The trouble with the Indians once 
over the miners again scattered over the country. 

In the same year Jo Daviess county was organized and the town 
of Galena surveyed and divided into lots. No title was given 
to those occupying the lots and moreover it was provided that 
upon thirty days notice lots were to be vacated by the settlers 
no matter how much improvement had been made upon them. 3 * 
Titles were, however, given in 1838. Although organized as a 
county of Illinois the people were not enthusiastic about be- 
coming a part of the state, preferring rather to be part of a 
new state. In 1828, accordingly, a petition signed by the resi- 
dents' of this region was sent to Congress, praying that the 
territory north of the line of 1787 be organized into a new 
territory, the seat of government being at Galena. 40 Nothing 



35 Ford, Illinois, 67. 

36 History of Jo Daviess County, 253. 

37 Copeland, Cornish in Southwestern Wisconsin, in Wis. Hist. Collections, 
14, 305. 

38 McLaughlin, Lewis Cass, 124 ; Edwards, Illinois, 218. 

39 Davidson and Stuve, Illinois, 346. 

40 The line connected the southern point of Lake Michigan with a point on 
the Mississippi River directly to the west. The Galena settlement was north 
of the line. At the admission of the state, the boundary was made 42° 30 A 
(Sanford, State Sovereignty in Wisconsin, in Am. Hist. Assn. Reports (1891) , 
177-193). For the petition see House Document 35, 20 Cong., 2 Sess. 3. 

[179] 



466 BULLETIN" OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN" 

was done in the matter till in the forties when another attempt 
was made by the northern counties to separate from the rest 
of the state. At this time the boundary question was settled 
at the present line. 

Year by year the population of the lead region grew and 
with it grew the importance of Galena, its market place and its 
base of supplies. In 1830 the town had some nine hundred 
inhabitants, 41 "a most singular and mysterious medley of people 
from all quarters of the earth" seeking wealth. Illinois 
settler's predominated, although there were probably representa- 
tives from every state in the union. 42 Of the foreign popula- 
tion, the Irish seem to have been most in evidence. 43 In 1832 
one writer estimates the population of the village at six hundred 
and sixty-nine people, there being some two hundred dwelling 
houses, warehouses and shops. 44 Another places the number 
at between 1,000 and 1,500, 45 while the Galena correspondent 
for the Baltimore American stated that "the town contained a 
population of 5,000 to 7,000 inhabitants." 46 Of these estimates 
probably the first is the most reliable as it is the most conserv- 
ative and is given by a resident of the town. Allowing for 
the rapid increase of the summer the second estimate may prob- 
ably be correct also, but the third one, published by Niles' Reg- 
ister is much too high and possibly refers to the entire district, 
the population of which had already been estimated at 10,000 
souls. 47 i ' It was a lively little town giving promise of great 
things in the future. ' ' 48 A considerable number of stores had been 
established, groceries abounded, a dozen lawyers and four or 
five physicians were located there. The Methodists, Presbyter- 
ians and Roman Catholics represented the religious sects, each 
having established congregations. 49 

The story of the settlement of the lead region has practically 



"Nile* Register, 63, 388. 

"Reynolds, Illinois, 168. 

43 Ibid. 

"Miners' Journal (Galena, Ills.), May 9, 1832. 

45 Tnwaites, Narrative of Morgan L. Martin, in Wis. Hist. Collections, 11, 398. 

46 Mies' Register, 34, 344. 

47 Miners' Journal, May 9, 1832. 

48 -^waites, Narrative of Morgan L. Martin, in Wis. Hist. Collections, 11, 398. 
"Atwater's, Writings, 238. 



[180] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 467 

been told in the development of Galena. The succeeding years 
are but repetitions of the earlier ones with this exception — the 
field widened and soon the surrounding region for miles was 
dotted with small mining camps and trading posts. 50 The occu- 
pation was, however, interrupted, for the Black Hawk War 
broke out in 1832 and again the miners hurried to Galena 
asking protection from the Indians. The battle of the Bad Axe, 
in August, 1832, broke forever the power of the Sac and Fox 
Indians and when by the treaty closing the war the remnants 
of the once powerful tribes were removed beyond the Missis- 
sippi, the miners were at last allowed to carry on their work 
in safety. 51 

With the close of the war, growth again began and the 
"wonderful mixture of humanity" 52 gathered new ingredients, 
for men of all nations and stations covered the "whole earth, 
north, east and south of Galena . . . prospecting, digging 
and looking for lead ore. ' ' 53 At Berreman, Vinegar Hill, 
Hanover, Council Hill, Elizabeth, Bush, Apple River and Scales 
Mound, settlements formed varying in size but generally small, 
consisting of from three to a dozen miners each. 54 Of these 
Elizabeth, on the Apple River, was most important and had in 
1832 a population of forty-five. Before 1840 the village was 
laid out and there were a school, a grist mill and a sawmill in 
operation. 55 

Slowly indeed Galena lost the characteristics of a frontier 
town since the industry from which it drew its life tended to 
keep the population unstable and operated against the advance- 
ment of varied industries. However, in the closing years of the 
decade from 1831 to 1840 it was described as a town of 1,800 
inhabitants and as having all the appearance of an old city, but 
deficient in cleanliness and comfort. 56 In addition to the 
churches already established an Episcopal parish was organized 



50 Thwaites, Story of the Black Hawk War, in Wis. Hist. Collections, 12, 228. 
B1 Stevens, Black Hawk War, 221-225. 

52 Murray, Travels in North America, 2, 129. 

53 Reynolds, Illinois, 169. 

64 History of Jo Daviess County, 555-608. 
55 History of Jo Daviess County, 586. 
86 Wiles' Register, 63, 388. 



[181] 



468 BULLETIN OF THE UKTIVEESITY OF WISCONSIN 

and a chapel erected in 1838. 57 A temperance society had been 
organized; 58 newspapers had from time to time been published, 
but owing to difficulties had died out until the establishment of 
The Northwestern Gazette and Galena Advertiser in Novem- 
ber, 1834 59 which has continued to the present time ; a Library 
Association had been formed supporting a library of over eight 
hundred volumes ; 60 there was a fire department, 61 and a branch 
of the State Bank of Illinois. 62 Balls 63 and theatres 64 furnished 
amusement for the people, although accommodations for such 
gatherings were limited. Such was the 'Leadmine City' when 
it was incorporated by Act of the State Legislature in Febru- 
ary, 1839. 65 

By 1840 the population had increased to 3,000 and there 
were in the city five hundred and fifty buildings, the rateable 
property being estimated at from $1,600,000 to $1,700,000. 66 
The bustle of business caused many an observer to prophesy a 
brilliant future for the town for it was then the distributing 
point for northwestern Illinois, as well as for southwestern 
Wisconsin. To its inhabitants and to those of the surrounding 
country it seemed destined to become "the largest and most 
flourishing city of the West, north of St. Louis. ' ' 67 Its location 
was peculiar; crowded together at the base of the bluffs, to a 
visitor it presented a singular appearance. Its compactness 
coupled with the instability of its population caused the elec- 
tion officials occasional embarrassment for, as N lies' Register 
stated, "the inhabitants shift about so from place to place and 
so many of them dwell in the holes and clefts of the rocks that 
it is difficult to say where they belong." 68 

From a commercial standpoint Galena as the center of the 



57 History of Jo Daviess County, 504. 

5S Miners' Journal, May 9, 1832. 

59 History of Jo Daviess County, 433. 

M IUd. 3 476. 

^ ibid., 458. 

62 Ibid., 475. 

« s Ibid„ 254. 

64 A Winter in the West, 3, 50. 

65 Galena and its Leadmines, in Harper\s Magazine, 32, 693. 
68 Senate Document, 349, 26 Congress, 1 Sess., 6. 

67 Madison Express, Feb. 1, 1840. 
amies' Register, G5, 171. 

[182] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 469 

mining region gained in importance during the decade. In 
spite of adverse tariff legislation and the unsatisfactory govern- 
mental administration of the mining lands, the industry in- 
creased, until 1847, when owing to the closing down of furnaces 
on account of the tariff, 69 the shipments of lead steadily de- 
creased. 70 The exportation of wheat began 71 and although 
nothing is stated concerning other farm produce it is not improb- 
able that since this city was the most convenient trading post 
of the region, the agricultural class looked to it as a market 
for their products. The amount of exports was greater than 
that of any town on the Mississippi above St. Louis, amounting 
to about $2,500,000 in 1846. 72 Steamboats in great numbers 
plied from this port down the Mississippi; in 1840 there were 
three hundred arrivals and departures; 73 in 1846 there was a 
still greater number. 74 Thirty thousand families were depend- 
ent upon Galena for their supplies of merchandise. 75 The pop- 
ulation of the city itself was reported to be 5,500. 76 

In 1846 a radical change was made by the government in the 
administration of its mineral lands, which operated for the good 
of those occupying claims upon such lands. After the acqui- 
sition of this portion of the country by the treaty of 1804, Con- 
gress had passed a law reserving several of the lead mines from 
sale and authorizing the President to lease such mines. At that 
time the superintendence of the mines was one of the duties 
of the treasury department, but in 1821 was transferred to the 
war department which made the first leases in 1822. This sys- 
tem which was practically beyond the control of law, and sub- 
ject only to the will of the secretary of war was productive of 
evils. Special agents, attorneys and others were finally 
entrusted with the duties of granting leases and collecting the 
rents. Favoritism and possibly worse things resulted. In 1835 



69 Madison Express, Sept. 8, 1846 ; Weekly Northwestern Gazette, Aug. 
1846. 

70 Western Journal and Civilian, March, 1852, 399. 

71 Niles' Register, HO, 304. 
72 Hall, The Wept (1848), 102. 
73 Files' Register, 60, 388. 
7 *Hall, The West (1848) 102. 

75 Galena Jeffersonian, Oct. 31, 1845. 
79 Ibid. 



[183] 



470 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

the system was for the time abandoned but was again revived 
in 1841 and the efforts made by occupants to obtain possession 
of their claims failed, owing to the exaggerated idea prevalent 
among the government officials at Washington concerning the 
mineral wealth of the region. In his report of 1845, Judge 
Shields, who was commissioner of the General Land Office, ex- 
posed the defects of the system and urged the sale of the min- 
eral lands. As a result the Senate took hold of the question and 
in July, 1846, a law was passed directing the President to 
sell such mineral lands as were reserved in Illinois, Wisconsin 
and Iowa. Accordingly they were sold the next year and the 
squatters who had heretofore held but little right to their land 
now came into full possession of it. 77 

Throughout the country few settlements had been made which 
were of any importance, save only those which were mining 
camps. Apple River, which in 1832 had a few stragglers, had 
in 1845 some two hundred men all of whom were engaged in 
mining. 78 Council Hill, a few miles to the east from Galena, 
had at the close of the decade three hundred settlers, most of 
whom were English. 79 Some agricultural settlers had congre- 
gated on the Old Sucker trail near the present village of Scales 
Mound 80 and Warren, Nora and Dunlieth (now East Dubuque) 
had each a few scattered settlers drawn from New York, Ten- 
nessee, Ohio and from foreign countries. 81 These settlements, 
however, amounted to nothing until the Illinois Central road 
pushed its way across the state during the succeeding decade. 
Millville, laid off in 1846, contained a dry goods store, a black- 
smith shop and a tavern ; this made it for several years the most 
important village between Freeport and Galena. 82 At the close 
of the period 18,600 people lived in Jo Daviess county, 83 and 
since there were at this time 60,000 acres of land under culti- 



77 Washtmrne, Lead Region and Lead Trade of the Upper Mississippi, in HwnVs 
Merchant's Magazine, 18, 288. 

78 New York Weekly Tribune, April 12, 1845. 

79 Guide to Illinois Central Rail Road Lands, (1861), 56. 

80 History of Jo Daviess County, 555. 

81 IUd., 542-558. 
^Ibid., 578. 
™IMd., 216. 

[184] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 471 

vation, we may believe that the agricultural as well as the min- 
eral resources of the region were being developed. 84 

Carroll county joins Jo Daviess county on the south and,, 
in a way, its settlement is connected with the expansion of the 
lead region. Ten years after the whites settled on Fever River 
the first settlers came to Carroll county. Three families estab- 
lished themselves on the present site of Savanna in 1828. 85 Set- 
tlement developed slowly before the Black Hawk War, but after 
the war settlers came a little more regularly. By 1837, per- 
haps, Savanna, which was yet the only town of any importance 
between Rock Island and Galena, began to enjoy a period of 
comfortable prosperity. It became the shipping point for hun- 
dreds of pioneers of the middle and upper Rock river country, 
since it was easier to reach than Galena. From as far up the 
Rock river as Rockford and Freeport the pioneers came with 
their farm products and returned with merchandise and lumber. 86 
In 1-839 Savanna was chosen as the county seat. The fact that 
two hundred and twelve votes were cast at the election 87 shows 
that the growth during the period of the preceding ten years 
had not been excessively rapid. 

Through four years Savanna enjoyed the distinction of being 
the county seat of Carroll ; at the end of this time another town 
more centrally located took that position. In 1837 a Virginian 
had located where Mt. Carroll now stands and laid out a town 
called Richmond. Offering liberal inducements to settlers he 
secured a few, but the financial troubles of 1837 killed the en- 
terprise. 88 Before the close of the year, however, a mill com- 
pany located its buildings at Richmond. Being the scene of 
improvements it naturally attracted settlers, who, increasing 
in number, made vigorous efforts to bring their town to a place 
where it would be a rival of Savanna, Savanna had failed to 
comply with the provisions of the county organizing act, so. 
when Mt. Carroll made an attempt to become the seat of county 



84 Peyton, Statistical View of Illinois, 13. 

85 History of Carroll County, 222. 
66 Ibid., 359. 

"Ibid., 229. 
e8 Ibid., 254. 



[185] 



472 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

government, it was successful. 89 Steadily the settlements grew 
and smaller ones sprang up at places of vantage. In the course 
of a few years Elkhorn Grove, Wysox, Lanark and Salem set- 
tlements were added. The towns were small, however, and in 
1850 the combined population in the county did not number 
5,000 people. 90 

The settlement of the lead region cannot be taken as typical 
of the westward expansion. Exceptional conditions to a re- 
markable extent influenced the settlement, and transporta- 
tion facilities combined with a concentrated resource brought 
out frontier characteristics. The life of the settlement in 
the earlier days depended entirely upon the success of 
mining ventures and during this period, Galena, the centre 
of population, may be said to have had all the characteristics of 
a frontier mining town. On every frontier, it is true, we find 
a mixture of peoples but in the lead region this mixture is found 
in a peculiarly marked degree. Foreigners from all portions 
of the world and Americans from every state of the Union were 
here thrown together indiscriminately. For the few bonds of 
sympathy which would naturally exist in such a community, the 
miners got along well together. Some were, perhaps, inclined 
to vote before they were legally entitled to the privilege ; others 
openly opposed the tax collector. Some were men of question- 
able character and nearly all were adventurers, but in spite of 
these characteristics it is a noticeable thing that little "claim 
jumping" was indulged in, few infringements made upon law 
and above all there seemed to exist among this people a thorough 
trust and goodwill for every one. The only laws at first gov- 
erning this portion of the state were contained on a single sheet 
of foolscap paper, signed by the superintendents of the mines 
and posted up in the most public places. They dealt with the 
settlement of disputes over mining claims; but as for ordinary 
business transactions such as credits, the people were to settle 
these among themselves, entirely on the law of honor. 91 In 
spite of this lax code of laws, seldom indeed did a miner fail 



™Ibid., 243. 

90 Seventh Census (1850), 704. 

91 History of Jo Daviess County, 348. 



[186] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 473 

to meet his obligations and debts were freely contracted and 
honestly paid; unruly characters were speedily and perhaps 
often roughly expelled from the town. On the whole the com- 
munity seems to have been a law-abiding one, even if the law 
adhered to was the simple law of the frontier. As late as the 
thirties, we are told, there was little or no use for a jail, for dur- 
ing a period of three years but one criminal had occupied it and 
he but for a week. 92 

The change of Galena from a frontier settlement to a city 
came when the development of the agricultural resources re- 
sulted in a yearly surplus which demanded a market, as did 
the products of the mines. Physiographic influences now be- 
came of greater moment. The concentrated mineral resource 
was in itself cause enough for the establishment of the city. To 
this was added the influence of the surrounding agricultural 
country which was developed by those who failed to find wealth 
in the mines. Lack of railroad communication made water 
communication all the more important, and Galena, situated 
conveniently upon the great water route to the southern markets 
hecame the collecting point for agricultural products for the 
markets of the South, as well as the distributing point for sup- 
plies brought up the river. With the increase of the settled 
area of the back country the importance of the city increased, 
and so it continued until the Illinois Central railroad pene- 
trated the sphere of influence of Galena and drained the trade 
•of the farming district towards the great lake port of Chicago. 

Another characteristic in the lead district needs mention — the 
population. It has been noted that foreigners formed a con- 
siderable part of the population, but there was also a southern 
element present in large numbers and southern sentiment was 
for years strong in the community. To the mines may be 
traced the cause for the foreign population, but to the line of 
<x>mmunication we must attribute the presence of the south- 
ern people. The Mississippi river was the thread of con- 
nection between this region and the outside world. To the 
east and the southeast especially before 1837 there was 
nothing save the prairie. Peoria far to the south (one hundred 



»2 Miner's Journal, May 9, 1832. 

[187] 



474 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

and seventy miles) was the only neighbor during the early 
days, consequently there existed little or no tie between Galena 
and the rest of Illinois. Before the prairies of the north were 
settled, a decidedly southern aspect had been assumed by the 
city and it was to remain so for many years. This characteris- 
tic, it seems, goes to show the influence which transportation 
routes have upon newly settled countries. "Wherever a compara- 
tively good line of communication leads through a locality in' 
which a tendency to emigrate exists, it is natural for those emi- 
grating to follow this line of travel. An examination of the 
nativities of settlers residing along the line in the newer country 
will reveal the fact that a considerable number of these settlers 
are from the older country bordering the same route of travel. 
The settlement, development and prosperity of the lead region, 
therefore are due to a series of causes in which mineral wealth, 
transportation facilities and agricultural development each 
plays a part. 



[188] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 475 



CHAPTER X 



Chicago 



For a number of years after the war of 1812 Chicago grew 
slowly. In 1818 there were, outside of the garrison enclosure, 
but two log huts in the settlement and the nearest post office was 
at Ft. Wayne, Indiana, from which the mail was brought once 
a month. 1 In 1820 when Schoolcraft visited Chicago he found 
"a small village of ten or twelve houses accommodating sixty 
people — half-breeds, Canadian-French fur-traders and Virgin- 
ians." 2 

Three years later Major Long visited Chicago and passed de- 
cidedly unfavorable comments upon it. "The village presents 
no cheering prospect as, notwithstanding its antiquity, it con- 
sists of but a few huts, inhabited by a miserable race of men 
scarcely equal to the Indians from whom they are descended. 
Their houses are low, filthy and disgusting, displaying not the 
least trace of comfort. . . . It is not impossible" he added, 
"that at some distant period when the banks of the Illinois shall 
have been covered with a dense population and when the low 
prairies which extend between that river and Ft. Wayne shall 
have acquired a population proportionate to the produce they 
can yield, that Chicago may become one of the points in the 
direct line of communication between the northern lakes and 
the Mississippi but even the intercourse which will be carried 
on through this communication will, we think, at all time be a 
limited one; the dangers attending the navigation of the lake 
and the scarcity of harbors along the shores must ever prove a 



1 Mason, Early Chicago and Illinois, 12 ; Life of Gurdon 8. Hubbard, 38. 

2 Wentworth, Reminiscences of Early Chicago, 3 in Fergus Historical Series 
I., No. 7. 

[189] 



476 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

serious obstacle to the commercial importance of Chicago." 3- 
Later development has shown beyond any doubt that the posi- 
tion of Chicago together with the scarcity of good ports along 
the lake has been of enormous advantage to the city. 

By 1826 the taxable property in the Chicago settlement was 
valued at $8,000, the American Fur Company owning by far 
the greater part. Thirteen other property holders resided here 
and the voting population numbered thirty-five. 4 In 1829 the 
town was piatted by the canal commissioners on land donated 
by Congress to aid the state in the construction of the Illinois- 
Michigan canal. The land sale took place in the fall of 1829 
and competition among the land speculators forced the prices 
of lots up to a fancy figure for a frontier village. 5 

In 1830 the population was estimated at anywhere from 
twenty-five 6 to one hundred people, 7 although from time to 
time an influx of immigrants bound for the interior increased 
the population several fold for a short period. 8 Still, Chicago 
had no post office but the village was now of sufficient importance 
to receive a call from the mail-carrier once a week instead of 
once a month, as formerly. Prospective work on the canal attracted 
population and during the year immigrants began to swarm in. 
A brisk trade sprang up with the Indians who remained in the 
region, increasing the profits of the few traders located there, 
but otherwise injuring the prospects for the growth of white 
settlement. In 1831 Cook county was organized. 9 Previously 
it had been a precinct of Crawford county and had caused the 
tax collector of the county no end of trouble, for each year he 
was compelled to make the trip to Chicago to collect a few dol- 
lars which would not pay the expenses of the trip. 

"When 1832 opened there were half a dozen white families in 
Chicago and some Indians, 10 five log buildings composing the 



3 JSfiles' Register, 57, 35. 

4 Wentworth, Reminiscences of Early Chicago, 15 in Fergus Historical Series 
1, No. 7. 

5 Kingston, Early Western Days in Wis. Hist. Collections, 7, 333. 

6 Land We Love, 5, 470. 

7 Chicago Tribune, Apr. 12, 1875. 

8 Four hundred immigrants wintered here in 1831-32. (Moses and Kirkland r 
Chicago, 1, 87.) 

9 Sheahan and Upton, The Great Conflagration, 26. 

10 Chicago Weekly American, Aug. 15, 1835. 

[190] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 477 

settlement. 11 As to the quality of the population at least one 
writer had decided views and expressed them. "Next in rank 
to the officers and commissioners may be noticed certain shop- 
keepers and merchants resident here; looking either to the in- 
flux of new settlers establishing themselves in the neighborhood 
or those passing yet farther to the westward for custom and 
profit; not to forget the chance of extraordinary occasions like 
the present. Add to these a doctor or two, two or three law- 
yers, a land agent and five or six hotel-keepers. These may be 
considered as stationary and proprietors of the half a hundred 
clapboard houses around you . . . Then for the birds of 
passage exclusive of the Pottawatomies — of whom more anon 
— and migrants and land speculators as numerous as the sand, 
you will find horse dealers and horse stealers — rogues of every 
description, white, black, brown and red — half breeds, quarter 
breeds and men of no breed at all; dealers in pigs, poultry and 
potatoes — men pursuing Indian claims, some for tracts of land 
. . . others, for pigs which the wolves had eaten; credi- 
tors of the tribes or of particular Indians who know that they 
have no chance of getting their money if they do not get it 
from the government agents — sharpers of every degree, pedlars, 
grog sellers ; Indian agents and Indian traders of every descrip- 
tion and contractors to supply the Pottawatomies with food. 
The little village was in an uproar from morning to night 
and from night to morning; for during the hours of darkness 
when the housed portion of the population of Chicago strove 
to obtain repose in the crowded plank edifices of the village, 
the Indians howled, sang, wept, yelled and whooped in their 
various encampments; with all this the whites to me, seemed to 
be more pagan than the red men." 12 This view shows the con- 
stant changing and shifting of population which renders it 
almost impossible to make an intelligent estimate of the size 
of the village. 13 It also brings to light the frontier character- 
istics which the village was not long to retain. 

11 Early Days on the Lakes (Walker Mss., in Buffalo Historical Society Publi- 
cations), (1902), 5. 

12 Latrobe, Rambler in North America, 3, 152. 

13 Chicago Weekly American, Aug. 15, 1835 estimates the population at two 
hundred; Andreas, Chicago (1, 159) says three hundred and fifty; in (1, 177), 
his estimate for 1833 is two hundred and fifty. 

[191] 



478 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

Beginning with the year 1833 Chicago enjoyed a wonderfully 
rapid growth until 1837. In May, 1833, the settlers organized 
the village of Chicago and by the end of the year there were 
one hundred and sixty frame houses 14 in the settlement, which 
showed a distinct advance over the few log huts of but two 
years before. Commerce now began to spring up and in 1833 
four vessels, aggregating seven hundred tons burden, arrived. 15 
Congress, to foster the new trade, made appropriations for the 
improvement of the harbor which at this date was an exceed- 
ingly poor one. 16 A newspaper was established, The Chicago 
Weekly Democrat, which was obliged to suspend publication 
from time to time, owing to lack of paper. 17 

The immigration of 1833 became a flood in 1834. During a 
part of the month of April the arrivals numbered one hundred 
a day, and it was estimated that in May some eight hundred 
more arrived. Building grew apace and by the end of June 
seventy-five new buildings had been added. The price of land 
had begun to advance and desirable locations upon business 
streets commanded a rental of three dollars per front foot. 18 
The population was now established at 1,800. 19 

If immigration to Chicago was remarkable in 1834 it was 
enormous in 1835. In addition to the actual immigrants who 
came yearly in ever-increasing numbers, the land sale which 
was advertised to take place early in the year brought a crowd 
of strangers and capitalists ready to avail themselves of the 
rapid rise in land values which seemed sure to take place in 
and around Chicago and along the line of the canal. 

Speculation reached its height in 1835 and 1836 and in the 
West, Chicago was its center. One transaction may be noted in 
the way of illustration. Early in the spring of 1835 a Mr. 
Hubbard bought eighty acres east of the river paying for it 
$5,000. A few months after his purchase he had occasion to 
.go east and upon visiting New York, much to his surprise, he 



14 Flinn and Wilkie, Chicago Police, 44. 

15 mi0»* Register, 51, 274. 

18 American Railroad Journal and General Advertiser (1847), 729. 

17 Gale, Reminiscences of Chicago, 47. , 

18 Chicago Weekly Democrat, June 18, 1834. 

19 Andreas, Chicago, 1, 159. 



[193] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 479 

found quite a speculation in Chicago property raging there. 
Grasping the opportunity for a good bargain he hired an en- 
graver, had a plat of his eighty acres prepared and sold half 
of his land for $80,000. Upon returning to Chicago and spread- 
ing the news, city property went up enormously in price ; ' ' every 
man who owned a garden patch stood on his head, imagined 
himself a millionaire, put up the corner lots to fabulous figures 
and what is strange, never could ask enough." 20 The price of 
land rose an hundred and frequently a thousand fold. 21 Saga- 
cious men, looking far into the future, now seemed to perceive 
that cities and villages covering but small plots of ground were 
destined to grow without limit, and accordingly plunged wildly 
into speculation in lands, fearing all the time that it was al- 
ready too late to reap the greatest benefits from investments. 
Over 572,000 acres of land were sold by the Chicago Land Of- 
fice during the years 1835 and 1836. 22 

To- aid the spirit of speculation which now raged in the West, 
business was done almost entirely upon a credit basis and it so 
continued until loss of confidence precipitated a financial crash. 
The incessant coming and going of people made the population 
of Chicago an unknown quantity during these years of specula- 
tion and, as one authority says it was "so mercurial in its evolu- 
tion that it was almost impossible to keep your finger on a man 
long enough to count him. ' ' 23 So rapidly did newcomers throng 
into the town that the taverns could not begin to hold the 
crowds; and men, women and children thronged the wharves 
and streets. Storehouses were thrown open for their shelter 
and when this device could no longer supply the demand for 
lodging places tents were set up in the streets. 24 

The business blocks of the town' had grown considerably 25 
and the demand of lumber for new buildings was beyond the 
power of transportation facilities to supply, while the lack of 



20 Ibid. 

21 Balestier, Annals of Chicago, 25. Fergus Hist. Series, 7, 1. 

22 p r airie Farmer, S, 231. 

23 Gale, Reminiscences of Chicago, 103. 

24 Chicago WeeJcly American, June 13, 1835. 

25 Chicago Weekly American, Aug. 15, 1835, gives the following list of business 
houses in the town : Fifty stores ; eight taverns ; twenty-five mechanic's shops ; 
two printing offices ; one steam mill ; one brewery. 



13 [193] 



480 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

mechanics to construct new buildings was for the time being a 
drawback to the growth of the town. 26 The streets were in no 
better condition than formerly. Lake street had been turn- 
piked but the irregular manner in which the boards had been 
laid and the lack of proper slant in the gutters tended to collect 
and stagnate the water drained from the streets, making them 
places favorable to the breeding of fevers. 27 Such conditions 
caused some people to hesitate to settle here and rather than 
risk their health among such surroundings they went into the 
interior. 

The year 1836 was but a repetition of 1835 so far as develop- 
ment was concerned. Excavation began on the Illinois and 
Michigan canal 28 which was a signal for a new crowd of settlers 
and speculators to flock into the city. For the year 29 four 
hundred and fifty-six arrivals of boats are recorded. Besides 
bringing immigrants in great numbers, large amounts of mer- 
chandise were brought to supply the trade which had now de- 
veloped with the back country. A person reading the county 
histories of central and northern Illinois is struck by the fact 
that a great proportion of the agricultural class 1 of all these por- 
tions of the state looked to Chicago for the market for their 
produce and for the supply depot for such merchandise as they 
needed. Rapidly indeed did this trade increase as the country 
filled up and the demand was so great in both country and in 
the city itself that there was a shortage in 1836 since the dealers 
had not calculated on such a tremendous increase in trade. 80 
Stores became in great demand, ordinary places of business 
bringing from $1,000 to $1,500 a year rent. 31 Population in- 
creased, but not with such rapidity as in preceding years, due 
probably to the fact that the commencement of work on the 
canal drew away many from the town, for a time at least. 

In March, 1837, Chicago was given a city government and 
in the following May, William B. Ogden was elected mayor, at 



26 Chicago Weekly Democrat, Dec. 4, 1835. 

27 Ibid., July 25, 1835. 

28 Colbert and Chamberlain, Chicago, 46. 

29 files' Register, 51, 274. 

30 Chicago Weekly American, July 9, 1836. 

31 Ibid. 



[194] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 481 

which election seven hundred votes were cast. 32 Chicago was 
now a cdty indeed, in size as well as in government. By the 
census of July of 1837 it was found that 4,179 people 33 resided 
within the city limits, which extended over ten square miles. 
There were nearly five hundred buildings and the taxable valua- 
tion of property, placed at one-fourth the true value, amounted 
to $236,842. The city taxes for the year were $5,900. 34 The 
fact that the male population in the city, over twenty-one years 
of age, out-numbered the female population over two to one 35 
gives evidence of the pioneer character of the city even at such 
a late date. 

So far everything had been prosperous in this rapidly grow- 
ing western town and indications pointed to a still more pros- 
perous future; but the financial revulsion which swept over 
the country upon the heels of the craze for speculation proved a 
sad blow to Chicago. Immigration to the city stopped, or at 
least was checked to a great degree ; business stagnated and city 
property became almost worthless, for no one wished to buy 
and every one wished to sell. Some men, accounted the most 
prosperous of Chicago's population in later years, owed their 
wealth to their inability to dispose of their property during 
these dark years of the city's history. The city gradually sank 
lower and lower in public favor and in commercial importance 
until it seemed "to sleep the sleep of death." 36 Slowly it 
revived from its lethargy and from 1842 again began to show 
signs of returning activity. 

The population in 1838 was numerically less than in 1837 
but a slight gain was enjoyed in 1839, as in 1840, from which 
date the yearly gains were more substantial. 37 The greater 



33 Illinois Blue Book, (1900), 147, gives seven hundred and nine votes. 

33 Andreas, Chicago, 1, 159. , 

34 Colbert and Chamberlain, Chicago, 49. 

35 Andreas, Chicago, 1, 177. 

36 Chicago Times, Apr. 30, 1846. 

37 Andreas, Chicago, 1, 159, and Balestier, Annate o<f Chicago, 35 in Fergus 
Hist. Series, 1, give statistics for tbe population of Chicago as follows : 

1836 (A) 4000, (B) 3820 

1837 (A) 4179, (B) 4179 

1838 (A) 4000, (B) 4000 

1839 (A) 4200, (B) 4200 

1840 , ( A) 4470, (B) 4479 

1841 (A) , (B) 5752 

1842 ■ (A) , (B) 6248 

[195] 



482 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

portion of the inhabitants were actively engaged in trade, but 
there were also a number of ' ' retired families, army officers and 
persons living on incomes derived from land and funds." 38 A 
majority of the people were from the eastern states and thas 
class of settlers held control of the city government. In 1841 
Mayor Sherman and the twelve aldermen in the city council 
were all from the East. 39 Probably foreigners were next in 
number, there being 2,256, or almost thirty per cent, of the 
total population, of foreign birth or parentage in 1843. The 
population of the city at that date was 7,580. 40 Of the foreign 
element one-third were Irish and the greater part of the re- 
mainder, German and Scandinavian. 

Business houses had increased in importance as well as num- 
bers; 41 new buildings were rapidly going up, and the number 
in the city had already nearly reached 1,400. 42 The valuation 
of city property was a matter of conjecture and estimates varied 
widely. 43 

Chicago had now become a shipping point of consequence. 
Previous to 1839 the city and the back country had been sup- 
plied with flour and other provisions from the East but in that 
year a vessel laden with seven hundred barrels of flour entered 
the port and was compelled to leave again without being able 
to dispose of her cargo. 44 The small consignment of wheat, 



38 Buckingham, Eastern and Western- States, 3, 265. 

39 Blanchard, The Northicest and Chicago } 1, 671. 

40 Norris and Gardner, Illinois Annual Register (1847), 76. 

41 Macigregor, Commercial Statistics, 338. In 1840 there were four commercial 
kouses with a capital of $35,000 ; ninety-seven retail stores, capital $400,000 ; 
eleven lumber yards, capital $40,000 ; four newspapers and three printing offices ; 
two flour mills ; one distillery and one furnace. 

42 Colbert and Chamberlain, Chicago, 56 ; two hundred and fifty-six stores of 
which thirty-seven were brick and eight hundred and eighty-four dwelling housea 
of which eight hundred and forty-two were frame. 

43 Blanchard, The Northwest and Chicago, 2, 17. 

1843 $1,441,314 

Parker, Growth of Illinois and Chicago, 19. 

1841 $1,967,445 

1842 $1,530,213 

1843 $1,570,490 

Western Journal and Civilian, 12, 5. 

1840 $1,864,205 

1841 $1,888,160 ; 

1842 $2,325,240 

1843 $2,250,705 

44 files' Register, 74, 265. * 



[196] 



POOLE Y SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 483 

(seventy-eight bushels) which was shipped from Chicago in 
1838, was followed by 3,700 bushels in 1839. Rapidly this 
trade increased and during the early forties, great quantities 
of grain poured into the city from the surrounding country. 
In 1845, 1,000,000 bushels were exported and this amount was 
doubled in 1847. 43 

Probably the origin of this export trade in wheat can be 
traced to the failure of navigation on the Ohio and Upper 
Mississippi. Supplies could not be obtained at St. Louis 
in quantities large enough to supply all northern Illinois. 
Neither could they be obtained at Galena, the other supply 
point of the Upper Mississippi. As a consequence the 
farmers turned their faces towards Chicago in search of their 
winter supplies. Team after team wended its way to Chicago, 
carting loads of wheat, the great staple of the farmers. Having 
no money with which to buy supplies the farmers exchanged 
their produce for such ones as they needed and, since wheat 
was the most valuable agricultural product it became the me- 
dium of exchange for the farmer. Once trading at Chicago 
they found that, owing to better facilities for transportation, 
goods were not as high in price as in the towns along the river. 
By 1841 nearly all the farmers in Illinois, Indiana and Wiscon- 
sin within a radius of two hundred and fifty miles carted their 
wheat to Chicago. 46 Before 1850 other articles of farm prod- 
uce were shipped in considerable quantities. Lake commerce 
made rapid strides even during this unfavorable period and the 
export list which amounted to but $1,100 in 1836 had grown 
to over $680,000 in 1843. The amount of imports which was 
$325,200 in 1836 had increased to $971,850 in 1843 although in 
1840 and 1841 it was considerably lower than in 1839. 4T 

North of the Chicago River lay the residence district connected 
with the business portion by bridges and ferrys. Here pleas- 
ant residences surrounded by piazzas and gardens lined both 
sides of the streets. During the period of depression the citi- 
zens, despairing of ever seeing Chicago a great city, determined 



45 Eighth Census, (1860), Agriculture, xlii. 

46 Albany Argus, Oct. 11, 1841. 

47 De Bow's Review, 5, 374. 



[197] 



484 BULLETIN" OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

to make it at least a pleasant one, and from the gardens which, 
one by one, sprang into existence came the name "Garden 
City. ' ' 48 Rows of trees separated the sidewalks from the streets 
and added much to the appearance. As yet the streets were not 
paved and many of them still had the green turf of prairie 
grass in the center. 49 In wet weather and in the early spring 
and fall they were often rendered impassable. It was even 
necessary for the men to attend social events in long boots and 
the ladies to take advantage of drays as a means of conveyance 
for as yet carriages were scarce in this western city. 50 

A system of waterworks was established in 1839 when a com- 
pany was chartered to supply the city with water. A reservoir 
was erected on the lake shore and a pump installed. A twenty- 
five horse power engine drew the water from the lake into the 
reservoir and distributed it through the city by means of a pipe 
line composed of logs with a three to &ve inch bore. 51 Where 
the pipe line did not reach, water carts supplied the residents. 
This system was not replaced until 1851. 

Such was Chicago in 1843. In spite of the disadvantages 
experienced during the years immediately preceding, the city 
had made rapid advance. Churches, hotels, school houses, 
libraries and a medical college had been established; 52 its com- 
merce had materially increased as had trade with the interior; 
its population had increased in numbers and was no longer 
marked with such instability as had formerly characterized it 
and moreover speculation of the wilder kind had been effectually 
dampened. Everything seemed favorable for greater prosperity 
and more rapid growth. 

During the period 1843-50 Chicago enjoyed a steady de- 
velopment. Its population which numbered 7,580 in 1843 had 
increased to over. 28,000 by 1850, 53 and in the large percentage 
of foreigners present partook to an extent of the characteristics 



48 Colbert and Chamberlain, Chicago, 52. 

49 Moses and Kirkland, Chicago, 1, 105. 

50 Buckingham, Eastern and Western States, 3, 262. 

51 Sheahan and Upton, The Great Conflagration, 29. 

52 Balestier, Annals of Chicago, 32 in Fergus Hist. Series, 1; Norris and Gard- 
ner, Illinois Annual Register {1847), 18-19. 

53 Andreas, Chicago, 1, 159. 

[198] 



POOLE Y SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 485 

of a seaboard city. 54 Speaking of this the Chicago correspon- 
dent of the New York Tribune says "of all the heterogeneous 
compounds that ever agreed to live neighbors, I think the like 
cannot be found this side of Ne'w York. It is only now and 
then a man, taken as they come, who can talk English without a 
'rurr-r-r' to his tongue. Yet we get along very peaceably, 
each man having enough to do to attend to his own business 
without taking upon him the weight of other men's affairs." 55 

Business increased rapidly as did manufacturing industries 
and commerce, property valuation rising proportionately. 56 The 
manufacturing establishments numbered one hundred and 
seventy-seven and employed 14,000 men, 57 of these concerns the 
McCormick Reaper Works' probably became of greatest import- 
ance. City property was valued at from seven to eight millions 
of dollars. 58 

By means of commerce more than by other means was Chicago 
now able to lay claims to importance. In 1836 the harbor of 
Chicago received four hundred and fifty-six vessels, bringing 
goods valued at something over $325,000; exports for the year 
amounted to but $1,100. The following decade wrought a 
wondrous change. In 1846 the vessels arriving at Chicago 
and leaving numbered 2,79 59 and carried merchandise valued at 
$4,938,O00. 60 The products of the richest agricultural portion 
of Illinois poured into the city bound for the East ; wheat, flour, 
corn, oats and meat being the leading products. In 1836 not 
a bushel of wheat was exported. In 1840 there were only 
10,000 bushels, but in 1848 the amount exported was 2,160,000 



54 Prairie Farmer, 9, 220. 

55 New York Weekly Tribune, Sept. 8, 1845. 

56 Bunt's Merchant's Magazine, (18, 171) gives the following list of busi- 
ness houses ; twenty-eight commission houses ; eleven clothing houses ; seven 
drug stores ; eight dry goods stores ; sixty-four wholesale and retail dry gro- 
cery stores ; sixty-three retail grocery stores ; four hat and cap stores ; twenty- 
three hotels ; ten newspapers ; twelve or fifteen insurance agencies ; fifteen lumber 
dealers besides others. This was in 1845. 

67 Industrial Chicago, 3, 585. 

58 Parker, Growth of Illinois and Chicago, (19,) estimates the property at 
$7,222,999 ; Blanchard, The Northwest and Chicago, (2, 17) places it at the same 
figure. Western Journal and Civilian (12, 5) gives it as $8,101,000. 

59 Hunt's Merchants' Magazine, 18, 171. 

60 De Bow's Review, 5, 374. 



[199] 



486 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

bushels, some of which went directly to Europe. 61 In the 
beef and lumber trade Chicago was equally as important, 
becoming, by 1850, the foremost market in the country in the 
amount of meat and lumber handled. 62 

Chicago had grown with such wonderful rapidity both in 
population and commercial importance that in the struggle for 
wealth little attention had been paid to city improvements such 
as lighting the streets, paving them, providing proper supplies 
of water or proper sanitary arrangements. Criticisms un- 
favorable in the extreme are abundant. For example one writer 
says concerning drainage "the flat of the town is so level that 
it cannot be drained. The rain soaks in and dries up. It is a 
dry spell now but the deep gutters at the sides of the streets 
have yet abundant pools of green stagnant water. In a wet 
spell the depth of the mud depends entirely upon the specific 
gravity of the object fathoming it. There are no pavements 
for there is not a stone as large as a bullet lin the whole country. 
The sidewalks are laid with plank and the cross walks with 
timbers. In the absence of mud there is a dust as fine as flour 
and some twelve inches or more in depth which is set in motion 
by every breeze and by the vehicles which plough through it. 
The water from the wells is a filtration through this mud. The 
inhabitants say they use lake water brought in by a hydrant but 
the article I have seen is very different from what we used on 
board the boat. It is decidedly dirty in its appearance and its 
taste also, a very essence of fever and ague. . . . Upon the 
whole, Chicago is about the last place a stranger would fancy 
as a place of residence. ' ' 63 

Another says, ' ' it was a rickety city of frame shanties . . . 
inhabited by a pushing, hustling, lively people, shut off as one 
looks at it now, from half the privileges and enjoyments that 
make life endurable." 64 



61 First cargo of wheat bound for England left Chicago in 1347. (American 
Agriculturist, 6, 226.) 

62 Curtiss, Western Portraiture, 51; Hunt's Merchants' Magazine, (18, 169 > 
states that 7,550,000 feet of planks were handled in 1843, and 100,368,000 feet 
in 181)0 ; Curtiss, Western Portraiture, (45) gives the amount for 1850 as 175,- 
000,000 feet. 

63 Prairie Farmer, 7, 260. (Extract from the Utica (N. Y.) Gazette, 1847.) 

64 Van Dorn, View of Chicago in 18.',S, in Magazine of Western History, 10, 42. 

[200] 



POOLE Y SETTLEMENT OE ILLINOIS, 1830.-50 487 

Its position among the cities of the country once established,, 
Chicago citizens began to look to local improvements. The old 
frame buildings thrown together in the shortest possible time 
rapidly gave way to more substantial brick edifices, in keeping 
with the times. Previous to 1844 the city had practically been 
at a loss to provide school houses for the children, being de- 
pendent principally upon renting such rooms as could be fitted 
up for the purpose. When, a few years later, one alderman 
had persisted in obtaining an appropriation and building a 
school-house, the people indignantly called it ' ' Miltimore 's 
Folly" on account of the supposedly enormous expenditures of 
money for an object the wisdom of which was questioned. The 
mayor ridiculed the extravagance of the venture for it would 
accommodate more children, he said, than would ever be in Chi- 
cago. Moreover, he suggested that it be turned into an asylum 
for the insane. 65 A change came about, however, and a traveler 
through the city in 1850 says "the greatest ornament of Chicago 
is its' Primary Schools, — its common or free school edifices are the 
best buildings for that purpose I have even seen in any city." 66 

Churches, too, shared in the increased prosperity. From 
cramped quarters occupied in the earlier years of the decade, 
these churches had come to occupy more elegant and spacious 
ones. Gothic architecture and stained glass windows had sup- 
planted deserted warehouses and small frame buildings as places 
of worship, 67 and in 1850 the property of the twenty-nine 
churches in Chicago was valued at $273,000. 68 

In 1850 the Chicago Gas Light and Coke Company was or- 
ganized and secured a contract to furnish gas light to the city 
for ten years. 69 The police force was also enlarged, one man 
being assigned to each of the nine wards. 70 

Communication with the interior was improved. In the 
early spring the low prairies around Chicago were well-nigh 
impassable for teams and this condition operated to the detri- 



65 Binckley, Chicago of the Thinker, in Lakeside, 10, 261. 

66 Curtiss, Western Portraiture, 59. 
6-1 Ibid., 306. 

68 Compendium of the Seventh Census (1850), 140. 

69 Colbert and Chamberlain, Chicago, 69. 

70 Plinn and Wilkie, Chicago Police, 58. 



[201] 



488 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

ment of the city people as well as the farmers in the interior. 
To overcome this difficulty substantial "plank roads'' were 
constructed in every direction at a cost of from $1,000 to $1,500 
per mile and kept in repair by the tolls collected. Although 
this was but one and one-half cents per mile the roads paid 
dividends ranging from fifteen to forty per cent, annually. 71 
To add to the facility of communication with the back country, 
the Illinois and Michigan canal was opened for traffic in 1848, 
as was part of the Galena and Chicago Union railroad a year 
later. For a time it seemed as if these additional lines of trans- 
portation operated to the detriment of Chicago, especially in 
the retail trade for it tended to draw the retail dealers nearer 
to their customers. This loss, however, was rapidly supplanted 
by a gain in the wholesale trade, 72 for around the city grew 
up many smaller settlements which looked to Chicago as their 
supply depot. 

Of the thousands of acres of land sold at the Chicago Land 
Office during the decade 1841 to 1850 much was close to the 
city and little fell into the hands of speculators. This latter 
fact aided in the settlement of the vicinity. Of the small 
towns in the immediate neighborhood of the city, Jefferson was 
settled in 1830, 73 Oak Park in 1833, 74 Norwood Park in 1834, 75 
Blue Island in 1835, 76 Evanston in 1836, 77 Lake View in 1844 78 
and Hyde Park in 1848. 79 By 1845 there were iff Cook county 
twenty-two settlements besides Chicago, and twelve of these 
claimed five hundred or more inhabitants each. 80 The popula- 
tion of the entire county was 43,385 in 1850. 81 

The development of Chicago must be called wonderful rather 
than typical of the westward movement. During the early 
years of its existence, while it passed through the 'log cabin ' 



71 Curtiss, Western Portraiture, 52. 

72 Ibid., 52. 

73 Andreas, Cook County, 744. 
7i Ibid., 782. 

^ibid., 4:77. 

76 Ibid., 629. 

77 Ibid., 417. 

78 Ibid., 708. 
™Ibid., 607. 

80 Ibid., 341. 

81 Seventh Census, (1850), 701. 

[202] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 489 

stage of development the growth may be safely called typical 
of the growth of the West. Slowly the settlers came at first 
and in the accounts of travelers can be found the incidents which 
prove the frontier characteristics of the village. The years 
of booming and speculation came during the period 1833-37; 
steam navigation upon the lakes made the village a port of 
importance; the land fever gave aid to an unnatural growth 
but Chicago still remained a village for the lack of substantial 
support. The financial revulsion of 1837 checked the growth 
of the town as well as the state but with the return of confidence 
in the early forties Chicago again came to life, this time to en- 
joy a steady growth in numbers and in prosperity and to take 
advantage of its location. 

At this date it appears that no longer can Chicago be taken 
as a type of western frontier towns but from this time on one 
must look to physiographic conditions for an explanation of 
its wonderful growth. As yet railroads had not penetrated the 
great agricultural fields of the West, but there was nevertheless a 
demand for markets for produce and these markets were in the 
East. During the decade 1841 to 1850 the prairies of Indiana, 
Illinois and Wisconsin were filling up rapidly and ever increas- 
ing fields of wheat, oats and corn ripened with each autumn. 
The increased number of settlers meant an increased demand 
for lumber and supplies of all kinds and Chicago, situated at 
the terminus of the great highway of communication with the 
East naturally attracted farmers by thousands, who came to 
exchange their farm products for the products of the East. 

Chicago's growth was now substantial and normal because of 
its 1 situation at the gateway of commerce. The great West, with 
its ever increasing wealth of agricultural products, was its store- 
house; the East was its market and the city, being the favored 
point of collection and distribution, the connecting link between 
East and West, was destined to grow in wealth and power with 
the increasing demands of producer and consumer. Still 
greater possibilities were to open up when during the fifties the 
railroads were to radiate from the city to various points of 
the rich farming lands around the lakes, greatly increasing the 
area of influence of the rapidly growing metropolis. Primar- 

[203] 



490 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

ily a commercial city, for a time, to commerce must be attrib- 
uted the development, but soon manufactures grew up to add 
to wealth and industry and in this departure may be seen still 
another cause for growth. 

Another point must next claim attention — the character 
of the population. Here also is seen the influence of transpor- 
tation routes. The line of the Great Lakes was the connecting 
link between the "West and the seaports of the Northwest and 
along this great highway came many foreigners, who, desirous 
of making their homes in the interior, took the easiest road 
thither and came to the best known port. The result is seen 
in the fact that one-third of Chicago's population was of for- 
eign descent. Moreover, New Yorkers and New Englanders 
abounded in the city and vicinity, probably for the same reason. 

In a word, it appears that Chicago is the result of physio- 
graphic influences, its favorable location allowing it to profit 
by the influences of the interaction of the agricultural West and 
the manufacturing East. Its location at the terminus of the 
great line of communication with the East, thus becoming both a 
distributing and a collecting point for an exceedingly wealthy 
back country gave it the permanent foundation upon which to 
build its industrial life. 82 



82 Hunt's Merchants' Magazine, (9, 31) prints an article in 1843, discussing 
the claims to future greatness of the cities of the section. The writer offers evi- 
dence to show that it will lie on the Great Lakes rather than on the Ohio river, 
but "he decides in favor of the location at the mouth of the Maumee, rather than 
Chicago. The article is of interest as showing the difficulty of contemporaneous 
estimate of the condition which produced Chicago's ascendency. 



[204] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 491 



CHAPTER XI 



Foreign Element in the Population of Illinois 

Immigration first assumed large proportions during the 
^decade 1831-1840 and increased progressively during the next 
twenty years, being relatively greater in proportion to the 
native population than at any other period. 1 Just what per- 
centage of the immigrants to the United States found their 
way to the Mississippi valley is difficult to determine as the es- 
timates of the writers vary considerably and census statistics 
-are not available before 1850. 2 

In 1850 Illinois had a population of 851,500 and of this num- 
ber 110,600 were foreigners. 3 Owing to the fact that Illinois 
was still a new state with an abundance of fertile land yet 
unclaimed in 1830, when European emigration began to become 
of some consequence, and that the state was situated at the ter- 
minus' of the northern route of travel over the Great Lakes, it 
is natural to expect that it would have a considerable and 
varied foreign population and this is the case. 

In selecting places for settlement there were decided prefer- 
ences displayed by the various nationalities. The Germans, 
naturally, inclining towards agriculture were most frequently 
found in the agricultural districts ; the Irish seem to have stayed 
in the cities or to have served as laborers along the lines of 
communication although an example of agricultural pursuits 



1 McLaughlin, The Immigrant, Past and Present, in Tlie Popular Science 
Monthly, July, 1904, 225. 

2 One writer says thata seventy-five of every hundred continental immigrants to 
the United States went west, but only twenty -five of every hundred Irish and 
English went west. (Wallcer, Mississippi Valley, 347.) Another says that oner 
third the total immigration located in the West. (Edinburgh Review, 100, 242.) 

3 Seventh Census (1850), 36. 



[205] 



492 BULLETIN OF THE "UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

adopted by Irishmen is to. be had in the country along the 
lines of the Illinois and Michigan canal. When the work on the 
canal stopped in the early forties the Irish laborers turned their 
attention to agriculture, some of them following it permanently. 

The English, Scotch, French and Swedes also inclined to- 
wards agricultural pursuits. Generally speaking the foreign- 
ers tended to settle together in localities apart from the other 
settlers and to maintain their national language and customs 
as long as possible. This tendency is displayed even today in 
both the country and the large cities. As time went on, how- 
ever, the intermixture of Americans and foreigners became fre- 
quent, and as the country became more and more densely set- 
tled it was impossible for the various nationalities to avoid con- 
tact and in many counties the varied composition of population 
suggests an indiscriminate thro'vving together of representatives 
of a dozen nationalities. 

The lead region affords an excellent example. One traveler 
speaking of the district and its inhabitants says: "The miners 
are the most wonderful mixture of humanity that ever I 
beheld; they are from all parts of the world but chiefly from 
Ireland, Derbyshire, Cornwall and Germany." 4 Still another 
says concerning the same district, "I visited Galena in 1829 
and found a most singular and mysterious medley of people 
located in that place. People from all quarters of the earth 
had flocked there on account of the celebrity of the lead 
mines." 5 In 1843 about thirty per cent, of Chicago's popu- 
lation were foreigners 6 and by 1850 fully one-third were of for- 
eign birth. 7 One-third of the votes in Peoria in the election of 
1849 were cast by foreigners. 8 Almost twenty-five per cent., of 
the population of Freeport in 1850 were foreigners. 9 "In all 



4 Murray, Travels in North America (1854), 2, 129. 

5 Reynolds, Illinois, 168. 

6 Norris and Gardiner, Illinois Annual Register (1847), 76; population of 
Chicago, 7,580; of these 2,256 were foreign. The Germans and Irish together 
numbered about 1,600. They were nearly equally divided. 

7 Prairie Farmer, 9, 220. 

s Sallance, Peoria, 201. The total vote was 1,324. Foreigners cast four hun- 
dred and thirty-five of these. Germans and Irish were most numerous. 

9 Johnston, Sketches of Stephenson County, 94. Population of Freeport 1,436 — 
foreigners, 352. 

[206] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 493 

the large cities and. towns of Illinois, Europeans, mostly Ger- 
mans and Irish, have located to a considerable number within 
the last fifteen or twenty years and in some localities the num- 
ber far exceeds the native Americans," 10 says Reynolds in his 
history of Illinois and the statement does not appear to be 
overdrawn. 

These conditions appear true also for the parts of the state 
outside the cities. Take for example Kane county. The local 
historian says, ' ' There is probably no county in Illinois that has 
accumulated its population from such varied sources as has 
Kane county. From first to last there have been no less than 
ten distinct and separate nationalities which have furnished not 
individuals only but colonies, who have made their settlements 
in the borders of the staunch old county." 11 These examples 
do not, however, seem to be exceptional cases. 

Germans were the most numerous of the foreigners in Ill- 
inois in 1850, composing over one-third of the foreign popu- 
lation of the state. 12 Economic, political, and religious influ- 
ences were at work in the fatherland causing a tide of migra- 
tion from all parts of the country to America. 13 Once in Amer- 
ica the cheap land of the fertile Mississippi Valley was an in- 
ducement sufficient to bring the Germans westward and the 
line of transportation over the lakes directed the course of the 
stream to the Chicago gateway of the Illinois prairies. 

Eeligious unrest was one cause for German emigration. A 
reorganization of the Lutheran church had taken place in the 
later thirties and the ruling Hohenzollerns had ordered all sub- 
jects to conform to the new belief. Penalties were threatened 
for those who refused. Imprisonment, confiscation of property 



10 Reynolds, Illinois, 184. 

11 Past and Present of Kane County, 222. 

12 Seventh Census, (1850), xxxvi. 

13 Emigrants came from Luxemburg (Mrs. Levi, Geographical Origin of the 
German Immigration to Wisconsin, in Wis. Hist. Collections, 14, 377) ; Pomer- 
ania, (Ibid., 14, 349) ; Prussia, (Madison Enquirer, Oct. 26, 1839) ; Hesse, (Wis- 
Jconsan Enquirer, July 28, 1842) ; Bavaria, (Sehriften des Vereins fur Social 
PolitiJc, 52, 90) ; Baden and Wartenburg, (Rahr, German Immigration to the 
Untied mates, 181,0-1850, 15, (MS. Thesis, University of Wisconsin, 1903) ; Baltic 
Countries, (Mrs. Levi, German Immigration, in Wis. Hist. Collections, 14, 349) ; 
Rhine districts (Littel's Living Age, 11, 201) ; and from the region of the Black 
Forest (files' Register, 72, 392). 

[207] 



494 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

and allied persecutions were practised to such an extent that 
many left their native land. 14 

Political grievances, too, were of importance all through this 
period. The unsuccessful attempts to obtain more liberal con- 
stitutions, coming immediately after the July Revolution of 1830 
in France, had not left the minds of the people in peace, and 
many had emigrated. Gradually the movement gathered 
strength for a new out-break against the bonds of absolutism. 
The attempt was made for a more liberal government in 1848, 
but it failed. The result is seen in the emigration of the " Forty- 
eight ers." 

Greatest of all the influences, however, were those of an eco- 
nomic nature, and to these is due the increase of German emi- 
grants in the decade 1841-1850. The small hand industries 
which for years had been a means by which the poorer Germans 
were enabled to make livings were now being beaten down by 
competition arising from the introduction of machinery. 15 The 
£vils of over-production and of over-population were at work. 
Subdivision of the land had gone on to a great extent and so 
small were the little plots of ground held by each peasant that 
it was with difficulty that the poor people eked out a bare ex- 
istence. In normal years, at the best only a few potatoes, a 
little corn, oats, clover and hay could be raised by the peasants, 
and even well-to-do farmers subsisted on milk, potatoes 
and corn bread. 16 

When crops failed these poor peasants were destitute. Dur- 
ing the early years of the decade crops were good but beginning 
with the extremely severe winter of 1844 and 1845 a change 
came. In that winter many of the vineyards were destroyed 17 
and in the following spring floods in the valleys of the Rhine, 
Moselle, Main, Neckar, Danube, Elbe and Vistula rivers materi- 
ally interfered with agriculture. 18 Moreover the potato crop 
failed, causing a correspondingly large increase in the price of 
bread stuffs and making it exceedingly difficult for the peasants 



11 Madison Enquirer, Oct. 26, 1839. 

15 See references in note 13 above. 

16 Rahr, German Immigration, 14 (MS. Thesis, University of Wisconsin, 1903). 

17 Niles' Register, «S, 14o. 

18 Rahr, German Immigration, 15 (MS. Thesis, University of Wisconsin 1903). 

[208] 



POOLE Y SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 495 

to gain a livelihood. The severity of the famine increased in 
1846 19 and the cold winter following added misery to the lot 
of the peasants. In many places the wealthy class was com- 
pelled to provide for the poor, to keep them from starving. 20 

During these years the agents of transportation companies 
were busy among the people. They were well dressed and well 
supplied with money and told wondrous stories of wealth to 
be easily acquired in America, of political freedom, Tight taxes 
and easy government. 

Resulting from these influences were such ventures as the 
Geissner Gesellschaft which had a plan to organize a German 
community in America as a state of the Union while retaining 
its German characteristics. 21 Besides the organized colonies 
which emigrated to America, thousands of Germans came 
singly or in groups of two or three families and by 1850 there 
were in Illinois over 38,000. 22 

Before 1830 there seem to have been few communities of 
Germans in the state but in the following years a rapid increase 
took place. The earliest settlements were probably at Dutch 
Hollow in St. Clair county and at Vandalia in Fayette county. 23 
During the years 1831, 1832 and 1833 frequent additions were 
made to the settlement in St. Clair county. The village of 
Darmstadt marks the location of a colony of well-to-do agri- 
culturists and tradesmen which sprang up in 1832. The so- 
called 'immigration of 1833' brought a number of highly-edu- 
cated Germans to this portion of the state giving the name 
Lateiner settlement to the community. In 1837, the German 
settlers formed forty per cent, of the population of the town- 
ship. 24 

In Effingham county on the southern edge of the prairie dis- 
trict was another center of German settlement. A stock com- 
pany was formed by some Cincinnati Germans and a site for 
a town was selected touching on the National Road in the 



19 files' Register, 72, 392. 

20 The HarUnger, 2, 287. 

21 KSrner, Das Deutsche Element, 300. 

22 Seventh Census (1850), xxxvi. 

23 Davidson and StuvS, Illinois, 349 ; Kopfli, S., and Eggen, J., Die Schweizer- 
Kolonie Highland in Illinois in Deutsche-Am&rifcanische Geschichts-Blattefj 
April-July, 1906. 

24 History of St. Clair County, 64. 



14 [209] 



496 BULLETIN OF THE "UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

above named county. The first settlers came in 1838, 25 and 
were soon joined by others from Cincinnati and Germany. In 
1840 there were ninety families in and around Teutopolis, the 
most important settlement. 26 In the nearby townships there 
were scattered German settlements. 27 

German communities were scattered here and there along the 
Illinois river before 1850. One of the early settlements began 
in 1833 in "Woodford county and increased steadily. 28 Another 
German community was established in Peoria about 1835 ; 29 it 
formed almost one-sixth of the voting population of the town 
in' 1850. 30 During the latter half of the thirties a considerable 
colony congregated at Havana, in Mason county. 31 A few years 
later another settlement of Germans began at Bath in the same 
county. 32 At Perry in Pike county there was a German settle- 
ment of some importance before 1850, 33 and in La Salle county 
the German population was large enough to support three 
churches. 34 It appears that the above named settlements were 
not the result of colonies organized in Germany, but that the 
settlers came in smaller groups from the older settlements at 
Cincinnati and St. Louis. After the political troubles in Ger- 
many in 1848 the German population was generally derived 
directly from Europe and the increase was more rapid. 

In the northeastern and northern counties of the state the 
Germans settled more frequently than in the southern counties. 
Wishing to follow agriculture, they were attracted by the rich 
prairie lands of the northern and eastern part of the state. A 
convenient line of communication also helped to turn the swarm 
of immigrants to Chicago, whence it scattered over the surround- 
ing country. Cook, Lake, Du Page and Kane counties received 
German settlers in numbers sufficiently large nearly to crowd 



26 Perrin, History of Effingham County, 251. 

26 'Salsbacher, Heine Beise nach der Vereinigten Staaten, 229, note 2. 

27 Perrin, History of Effingham County, 147, 230. 

28 History of Woodford County, 368. 

29 History of Peoria County, 489. 

30 Deutsch-Amerikanfeche Geschichtsoldtter, Jan., 1901, 22. 

31 History of Menard and Mason Counties, 509. 

32 Ibid., 576. 

83 History of Pike County, 474. 

94 Baldwin, History of La Salle County, 533. 

[210] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 497 

out the original settlers. After 1848 the numbers increased 
rapidly, especially in Kane and "Will counties, Aurora 35 and 
Elgin 36 in the former county being the chief centers of German 
settlement. The settlements in Will county date from 1846 and 
the success and growth of the communities seems due to the 
efforts of Conrad Tatge. During the years immediately fol- 
lowing, most of the government railroad lands were bought up 
by Germans and soon those lands held by speculators also came 
under their control. 37 

In the Bock river valley there were but three German settle- 
ments of any importance before 1850 — Oregon in Ogle county, 88 
Dixon in Lee county, 39 and Freeport in Stephenson county. 40 
Of these Freeport was the most important; foreigners composed 
one-fourth of the population of the town and the German ele- 
ment was by far the most numerous. A short distance north 
of the town 1 was another community of Germans located in 
Ridott township. 41 

At Galena in Jo Daviess county, 42 Warsaw in Hancock county 48 
and Quincy 44 and Melrose 45 in Adams county were the chief 
German communities of that portion of the state bordering on 
the Mississippi river. The settlements were, however, not large 
in 1850, the greater part of the present German population 
having come at a later date. 

Other settlements of Germans in all probability existed in 
Illinois but since mention is not made of them in local histories, 
it seems safe to conclude that in 1850 at least, they were of no 
great importance. 

As a class the Germans were desirable settlers owing to their 
quiet, sober, steady habits, their ability and industry. Those 



35 Past and Present of Kane County, 236. 

36 Chicago Republican, Mar. 16, 1867. 

37 History of Will County, 559. 

38 History of Ogle County, 489. 

39 History of Lee County, 177-185. 

40 Johnston, Sketches of Stephenson County, 94. 

41 History of Stephenson County, 283. 

42 Rodolf, Pioneering in the Wisconsin Lead Region, in Wis. Hist. Collections, 
15, 350. 

^History of Hancock County, 638. 

«Asbury, Quincy, 103-106. 

46 History of Adams County, 540. 



[211] 



498 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN" 

who came without money to buy land hired themselves out to 
landowners and were contented to serve as laborers until they 
had learned the industry and acquired enough capital to make 
purchases for themselves. They applied themselves to the cul- 
tivation of the soil, not as adventurers for the sake of experi- 
ment, but as farmers who meant to keep possession of it. They 
brought with them the same patient laborious habits which had 
distinguished them in their native land and as a consequence 
the settlements made, while retaining the characteristics of the 
fatherland to some extent, were models of well-ordered industry. 
The head of the family worked, the children worked and the 
women worked, too, often as hard as the men, sharing the men's 
labors in the fields; for the German ' although not destitute of 
romance was far from believing that women were made only to 
be ornamental.' 46 Following this rule it was not long before 
each of these German families owned not only its dwellings but 
the land upon which they stood. 

While agricultural in their tastes the Germans were often 
found an the cities, Chicago especially having quite a large Ger- 
man population. It will be remembered that many of the early 
German settlers came by way of the Great Lakes, landing at 
Chicago. Few of these had money to spare, some had none at 
all. In the latter case they were unable to buy land but the in- 
dustries of the city afforded abundant opportunities for mak- 
ing good wages and many a German remained here hoping by 
thrift soon to acquire enough capital to carry out his pet scheme 
— to buy a farm. Living was high in the city, money accumu- 
lated slowly, land rose rapidly in value and the would-be farmer 
gradually changed to a city man. Others came and the tend- 
ency to settle together manifesting itself, these later comers 
remained with their countrymen in the towns. 

In politics the Germans were strongly democratic, even tend- 
ing towards socialism. Their leading political newspapers 
called American democracy a mongrel affair. They were 
radical on questions of land reform and often led observers to 
believe they supported communism, apparently denying the 
right of private property and suggesting the experiment of a 



« Atlantic Monthly, 33, 463. 

[312] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 499 

general division of goods among the people. This was true 
especially about 1850, but probably did not fairly represent the 
feeling of the great body of Germans, since the editors of that 
time had but recently come from the revolutionary scenes of 
1848. 47 However, it is probable that in spite of their tendencies 
toward radical political views and in spite of the fact that they 
attempted to an extent, at least, to retain the customs and lan- 
guage of their native land, the Germans were a valuable addi- 
tion to the population of the state. 

Causes for Irish immigration are not difficult to find: re- 
ligious troubles, 48 oppressive tithes, 49 absentee landlords, 50 high 
rents/ 1 poor wages, 52 poor cultivation of the soil, famines. The 
moral degradation and lack of education all combined to make 
the condition of the Irish peasant one of abject misery. 
Greatest among the causes were crop failures and famines. 
The years 1831, 1835, 1836, 1837 and 1839 were ones of partial 
crop "failure and the great famine of 1847 spread misery through- 
out the entire island. It is reported that during this year five 
and one-half millions of the population were dependent upon 
the charity of the rest of the population — about three million 
in number — for food. 53 Misery, destitution and sickness were 
prevalent as is shown by the writers of the time, 54 and a corres- 
ponding increase of Irish immigration to America resulted. 55 

The Irish upon landing an America tended to remain in the 
eastern cities, becoming day laborers or factory employes. 
When they left the cities it was generally to find work upon the 
lines of transportation then in the process of construction. A 
very small number devoted themselves to agricultural pur- 



47 Christian Examiner, 51, 355' ; Bruncken, in Wis. Hist. Soc. Proceedings 
(1901), 190. 

48 Nileis' Register, 40, 406. 

49 Ibid., 406. 

*> Dublin Review, 1, 281-313 ; 15, 148-168 ; 317-363. 
51 American Review, 6, 461, $15-S25 per acre. 
62 Fortnightly Review, 8, 40. 

83 American Review, 6, 637. 

84 BlacTcwoods, 64, 477 ; British Quarterly 'Review, 5, 524 ; Condon, Irish Race 
in America, 302 ; Madison Express, April 13, 1847. (Extract from London Her- 
ald. A letter written by a Mr. Shaw then in Ireland) ; Niles' Register, 23, 5 ; 
38, 431 ; 40, 455 ; 41, 379, 448 ; Western Journal and Civilian, 6, 247. 

65 Young, Report on Immigration (1872), 14, reports over 500,000 Irish land- 
ing in America durfng the years, 1847, 1848, 1849 and 1850. 

[213] 



500 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

suits for they were too poor to acquire land and, moreover, the 
unpleasant experiences of their native home made Irishmen 
skeptical concerning the possibilities of returns from this in- 
dustry. 

In 1850 there were almost 28,000 Irish in Illinois. 56 There 
were scattered settlements in the state before 1830, but the in- 
flux came when work was begun on the Illinois and Michigan 
canal, and for some time the greater portion of the Irish settle- 
ment of the state lay close to the canal. The work invited large 
bodies of laborers and naturally the Irish made their way in 
considerable numbers from the seaboard cities to this district 
where good wages and steady work seemed assured. 57 They 
were scattered all along the line, two hundred or more being at 
Peru 58 and La Salle 59 in La Salle county, some in Grundy 
county 60 and some in Will county. 01 In Chicago the largest 
number were gathered, there being almost eight hundred Irish 
in the city in 1843. ° 2 Nine per cent, of the voters of Peoria in 
1849 were Irish. 63 

The course of events, however, operated in Illinois to change 
a number of Irish from laborers to farmers. The work on the 
canal progressed slowly for ten years. All sorts of expedients 
were resorted to by the state authorities to sustain the work. 
When money was no longer available the laborers were paid off 
in canal scrip which in consequence of the growing financial 
embarrassments of the state sank a great deal in value and at 
times was scarcely convertible at all. Much of this scrip was 
converted into land, however, and when work on the canal was 
for the time abandoned in the early forties many of the Irish 
laborers took up sections of land in the neighboring counties, or 
in other portions of the state ; when they could be obtained town 
lots were taken. As a consequence the farming population of 
that part of the state immediately bordering the Illinois river 



56 Seventh Census (1850), xxxvi. 

57 Onahan, Irish Settlements in Illinois, in Catholic World, 33, 357. 

58 Buckingham, Eastern and Western States, 3, 222. 

59 Baldwin, History of La Salle Oounty, 225-483. 

60 History of Grundy county, 143. 

61 History of Will county, 659-906. 

c2 Norris and Gardiner, Illinois Annual Register (1847), 76. 
63 Ballance, History of Peoria, 201. 



[214] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 501 

from Peoria northward and along the Illinois-Michigan canal 
is composed largely of Irish. Some Irish farmers are also 
found as far north as McHenry county. 64 

In Monroe county an Irish settlement began in 1844 and be- 
fore the elapse of a decade more than three hundred families 
had congregated in this portion of the state. 65 At Dixon in 
Lee county, 66 at Quincy in Adams county 67 and at Galena in 
the lead region 68 were communities of Irish but they were not 
large. 

As a class the Irish settlers were not so desirable as were the 
Germans. Their poverty, their faith and their early education 
made their immediate assimilation into the population of the 
state impossible. 69 Their mission in the early days seems to have 
been the construction of the internal improvements of the state. 
By their native adaptability to new surroundings the Irish 
seemed best fitted for city life and many settled in the cities, 
especially in Chicago. In speaking of the Irish settler a writer 
of the time says: "His weakness lies in success . . . for 
with ten dollars in his pocket he is abashed by nothing in 
Heaven, earth or Chicago." 70 

From England also there came many immigrants and for 
reasons similar to those causing the Irish immigration. Agri- 
cultural and industrial depression, enormous tithes, heavy taxes, 
poor wages and poor cultivation of the soil made the lot of the 
peasant class a hard one. Periods of rash speculation were 
followed by commercial crises which added their influence to 
that already operating to injure the peasant class and to in- 
crease dissatisfaction. 

During the early thirties a general depression existed. 
"Landlords with mortgages or rent charges were ruined, tenants 
farming on borrowed capital became parish paupers, bankrupt- 
cies, seizures, executions and imprisonments for debt were prev- 



64 Onahan, Irish Settlements in Illinois, in Catholic World, 33, 159-160. 

65 Reynolds, Illinois, 183. 

66 History of Lee County, 117-185. 
« 7 Asbury, Quincy, 103-106. 

68 Reynolds, Illinois, 168; Murray, Travels in North America (1854), 2, 129. 

69 Metropolitan, 4, 721. 

70 Putnam's Magazine, 4, 628. 



[215] 



502 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

alent; rents fell into arrears, tithes and poor rates remained 
unpaid; labor bills were reduced and improvements discon- 
tinued.'* 71 Wages were exceedingly low, 72 artisans and farm 
hands sharing alike in the poor returns to labor. Tithes were 
exorbitant 73 and the taxes were equally heavy. 74 

The results of these conditions soon showed themselves in 
riots of a serious nature partly aimed at the wealthy classes 
and the clergy and partly to break up the new industrial devel- 
opment which had come with the introduction of machinery. 75 
For a time reform legislation allayed the trouble but riots and 
disturbances broke out anew during the closing years of the 
decade 1831 to 1841, and continued tiU 1844. 

With each renewed agitation the number of emigrants in- 
creased. Farmers 1 , wishing better returns for their labor, ar- 
tisans and professional men began to leave the country. 76 Clergy- 
men urged their parishioners to emigrate to America where 
wages were good. 77 The London Roman Catholic Emigration 
Society hastened to complete preparations whereby various 
parties, each with its clergyman at its head might find new 
homes in America. 78 New agitations by the trade unions and 
the Chartists broke out to swell the numbers already crossing 
the ocean. In fact ' ' there probably never was a nation to which 
emigration on a great scale was more urgently suggested than 
to England in the middle of the nineteenth century." 79 Al- 
though her wealth was increasing rapidly, so too was her popula- 
tion and the field for employment was constantly being confined 
to narrower limits, profits were diminished, rates of interest 
reduced and the ranks of the uneasy class were being constantly 



71 Traill, Social England, 6, 211. 

72 Farm laborers received nine shillings per week, in haying time a trifle more. 
(Mies' Register, 39, 454) ; annual wages amounted to from twenty to twenty- 
one pounds for farm laborers, (Ibid., 41, 321) ; artisans' wages were from fifty 
to sixty cents per week. (Ibid., 42, 124.) 

"In England 6,000,000 parishioners paid £S,896,000 tithes while 198,000,000 
in other parts of the world paid but £8,852,000. (Niles' Register, 40, 160.) 

74 Family Magazine, 6, 416. 

75 Traill, Social England, 6, 211. Niles' Register, 39, 454-456. 

76 Mies' Register, «2, 400 ; North British Review, 18, 262. 

77 Placards posted throughout the country said that laboring men in America 
received from three to four dollars per day. (The New Yorker, June 17, 1837.) 

78 Madison Express, June 1, 1843. 

79 North British Review, 18, 259. 

[216] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 503" 

augmented. During the years 1845-1847 emigration to the 
United States doubled, which shows the dissatisfaction with 
conditions existing in the kingdom. 80 

Of this immigration a portion came west and in 1850 there 
were 18,600 English settlers in Illinois. 81 Settlements were 
made early at Albion, 82 Carlyle 83 and Prairie du Long. 84 

Shortly after the opening of the lead mines the Comish began 
to settle there and grew rapidly in numbers. 85 At Nauvoo dur- 
ing the days of Joseph Smith a great number of English con- 
gregated. Missionaries sent to England by the Prophet never 
returned without a band of converts. In 1840 the first band 
came 86 and by 1844 it was estimated that of 16,000 saints then 
in and around Nauvoo, 10,000 were English. 87 Other settle- 
ments of less note were scattered over the state. 88 

As a class the English did not make good prairie pioneers for 
they knew little of agriculture as it was carried on in the great 
western country, and of all immigrants they experienced the 
most difficulty in settling down and yielding themselves to the 
conditions of a new country. Their minds were hampered with 
prejudices in favor of the customs and habits of the mother 
country, which, combined with the lack of those qualities which 
make good pioneers, kept the English from being classed with 
the successful settlers of the new country. 89 



80 Young, Report on Immigration (1872), 12. 

81 Seventh Census (1850), xxxvi. 

82 Flower, English Settlements in Edwards Co. III., 147. 

83 Ibid., 163. 

84 Davidson and Stuve, Illinois, 349. 

85 Copeland, The Cornish in Southwestern Wisconsin, in Wis. Hist. Collections, 
14, 305. 

80 Smith and Smith, Latter Day Saints, 2, 450. 

87 Lewis, Impressions of America, 265. See also Beadle, Life in Utah, 59 ; 
Cincinnati Chronicle, Avlg. 26, 1840 ; Kennedy, Early Days of Mormonism, 219 ; 
New York Weekly Herald, April 9, 1842 ; Niles> Register, 69, 144 ; 60, 304 ; 
63, 400 ; 64, 96. 

88 Settlements were made at: Rockton, Winnebago county (Carr, Rockton, 
16) ; Butler's Point, Vermilion county (Beckwith, Vermilion Co., 640) ; Dixon, 
Lee county (History of Lee County, 177-185) ; La Salle, La Salle county (Bald- 
win, La Salle County, 225-483) ; Peoria (Ballance, History of Peoria, 201) ;: 
Ridott township, Stephenson county (History of Stephenson County, 268) ; Will 
county (History of Will County, 659-906) ; McHenry county (History of 
McHenry County, 637). 

89 Latrobe, The Rambler in North America, 2, 163. 



[317] 



504 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

Economic causes operated in Scotland after 1830 to cause 
emigration. The growth of the wool industry compelled many 
of the peasant class to leave the country during the decade 1831- 
1840. 90 The famine of 1847 rendered many others destitute and 
aided in increasing emigration. 91 In 1834 they began to come 
to Illinois and formed little settlements throughout that part 
of the state north of Peoria. 92 By 1850 there were 4,660 Scotch 
in Illinois. 93 As 1 citizens in the new country they were well 
thought of on account of their frugality, sobriety and industry. 
As agriculturists they ranked high, it being estimated that seven 
of every twelve families succeeded. 94 

Scandinavian immigration to the United States was slight in- 
deed before 1830 but by 1850 there were settled in Illinois some 
3,500 people of this nationality. 95 The first Norwegians settling 
in Illinois came from New York in 1834. 96 They settled at 
La Salle and Ottawa and at other points in the Fox river val- 
ley. 97 The most interesting Scandinavian settlement in the 
state was the Bishop Hill Colony in Henry county. Owing to 
religious difficulties at home five hundred left for America in 
1846 and settled in the above named county. By 1848 the set- 
tlement numbered 1,200 souls and continued to flourish for some 
years after 1850. 9S Various other settlements were scattered 
about the state at this date. 99 



»°Niles' Register, 40, 93. 

91 LitteVs Living Age, 18, 97. 

92 Settlements were made at: Argyle, Winnebago county {History of Winne* 
oago County, 454) ; Dundee, Kane county (History of Kane County, 230) : Will 
county (History of Will County, 242, 659-906) ; La Salle county (Baldwin, La 
Salle County, 225-483) ; Peoria (Ballance, Peoria, 201). 

93 Seventh Census (1S50), xxxvi. 
9 * Collins, Emigrants' Guide, 77. 
93 Seventh Census (1850), xxxvi. 

96 Baldwin, La Salle County, 164. 

97 Historical Magazine, 2, 202. 

83 Mikkelson, Bishop Hill Colony, in Johns Hopkins University Studies, 10; 
Bigelow, Bishop Hill Colony, in Transactions of the Illinois Historical Society, 
(1902) ; Niles' Register, 72, 260; Bremer, Homes of the New World, 2, 67. 

99 Beaver Creek, Iroquois county (Anderson, Norivegian Immigration, 200, and 
Nelson, Scandinavians in the United States, 1, 129) ; Rock Run, Stephenson 
county, (IUd., 1, 132 ; History of Stephenson County, 255) ; Nettie Creek, 
Grundy county (History of Grundy County, 287) ; Mercer county (Reynolds, Illi- 
nois, 183) ; Lee county (History of Lee County, 767)J: Princeton, Bureau county, 
(Taxpayers and Voters of Bureau County, 133) ; Andover, Henry county (Nel- 
son, Scandinavians in the United States, 1, 217) ; Moline, Rock Island county 
(IUd., 1, 217) ; Galesburg, Knox county (Ibid., 1, 217). 

[218] 



POOLET SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 505 

French, Swiss, Portuguese, Poles, Welsh, Spanish, Belgians, 
Dutch, Italians, Austrians, Danes, Greeks, Mexicans, West In- 
dians, Hawaiians, South Americans and even Chinese were rep- 
resented in Illinois in 1850. 100 Of these nationalities the French 
were the most numerous. When the Americans first came to 
Illinois the French settlements along the American Bottom and 
-at Peoria were practically the only ones in the territory. The 
Americans with their new ways and ideas of government and 
law caused such wonder and even distrust among this simple 
people that many moved away. Those remaining assumed by 
degrees the American manners and language, but became of 
less importance politically and socially as the American settlers 
increased in number. Few indeed were the French immigrants 
before 1830 and at no time during our period did the annual im- 
migration to the United States number 10,000 save in the years 
1846 and 1847. 101 During the early days in the northern part 
of the state lone French-Canadian cabins were often found 
along the rivers, inhabited by traders in the employ of the 
American Fur Company. 

The first French colony of any importance to be established 
in Illinois after 1830 was at Metamora, Woodford county, in 
1831. 102 In 1837 another was established by the Piquet brothers 
at Saint Marie, Jasper county. The colony numbered twenty- 
five persons and owned 12,000 acres of land. 103 An interesting 
colony of French was located in Hancock county where three 
hundred followers of Cabet lived ! in the old Mormon town of 
Nauvoo. Coming to Illinois in 1849 they remained there for 
several years seemingly enjoying prosperity but internal troubles 
finally broke up the settlement. 104 In Kankakee county there 
was a cluster of French-Canadian settlements, chief among 
which was Bourbonnais, which had a population of 1,719 in 
1850. 105 Here the old Canadian customs were maintained for 



100 Seventh Census (1S50), xxxvi. 

101 Young, Report on Immigration (1872), 12-16. 

102 History of Woodford County, 268, 368. 

103 History of Cumberland, Jasper and Richland Counties, 484. 

104 Reynolds, Illinois, 372 ; Open Court, August 28, 1890 ; Hinds, American 
Communities; Shaw, Icaria ; Hillquit, Socialism in the United States. 

105 Seventh Census (1850), xxxvi; Campbell, Bourbonnais in Transactions of 
the Illinois State Historical Society, (1906). 

[219] 



506 BULLETIN" OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

years. The other settlements in' the state were of lesser im- 
portance. 106 

Swiss settlements in the state were few. A general business- 
stagnation in 1844 caused a considerable number of Swiss to 
leave their native land. 107 In 1815 a Swiss colony from Neuf- 
chatel had established itself at Dutch Hill in St. Clair county. 108, 
A portion of Lord Selkirk's Red River colony settled at Galena 
in 1826. 109 In Madison county near Highland another colony 
was begun in 1831. It grew slowly until 1844 when over one 
hundred colonists were added making it the most important 
center of Swiss settlement in the state. 110 

Two Portuguese colonies, one near Springfield and one near 
Jacksonville were interesting additions to the population of 
Illinois in 1849. Exiled from the island of Madiera in 1847 
owing to religious differences with the Catholic rulers, they 
landed on the island of Trinidad, from which a number came to 
the United States subsequently settling in Illinois. It is diffi- 
cult to state the number of people composing the colonies ac- 
curately. 111 

Of other nationalities but few representatives were in the 
state. A Polish settlement was planned early in the thirties and 
a grant of land obtained on the Rock river, but the colony never 
materialized. There 'were, however, a few Poles in the state. 112 
In Kane county a considerable Welsh population grew up after 



106 Settlements were made at: Peoria (Ballance, Peoria, 201); Dixon, Lee 
county (History of Lee County, 117-185) ; Rockton, Winnebago county (Carr, 
RocTcton, 16) ; Will county (History of Will County, 659-906) ; Iroquois county 
(Beckwith, Iroquois County, 336). 

107 Luchsinger, New Glarus, in Wis. Hist. Collections, 12, 340. 

108 History of St. Clair County, 62. 

109 Chetlain, Recollections of Seventy Years, 6. 

110 Steinach, Schweizer Kolonien, 248, Newbauer, Miss., The Suriss Settlements 
in Madison county, Illinois in Transactions of the Illinois State Historical So- 
ciety, (1906). 

111 Number placed at forty-two (Seventh Census (1850), xxxvi,) History of 
Sangamon County, 578, says, "On the 19th of October, 1849, nearly three hundred' 
left New York for their new homes in Illinois"' ; Reynolds, Illinois, 183, "I presume 
the whole would amount to five or six hundred souls" ; Deutsch-Amerikanischd 
Geschichtsolatter, Jan. 1, 1904, 32, "Und von dort wurden in Jahre 1849 gegen< 
300 . . . nach Illinois gebracht." 

112 Beckwith Vermilion County, 763. 



[220] 



POOLE Y SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 507 

1836. 113 Chicago had a colony of Bavarian' Jews. 114 and prob- 
.ably in this city could have been found the few Mexicans, Ital- 
ians, Austrians and others which are enumerated in the census 
of 1850. 

To the influence of cheap land and easy communication, it 
seems, can be traced the cause for the foreign population of 
northern Illinois. When immigration from European countries 
had reached large numbers the lakes were navigated by steam 
and afforded easy access to the interior of the continent. As 
a general rule the immigrants were of the lower classes of 
European society and had little money to spend. Those who 
wished to become farmers needed land, and lack of money 
necessitated cheap land, which lay in the West. The great 
port at the end of the lakes was Chicago, the doorway to the 
prairies where government lands could be had in abundance 
at exceedingly low prices. Towards this city the immigrant 
made his way as an examination of the population of the coun- 
ties around Chicago will show. 

Other influences were probably at work also. The greater 
part of the immigration to the United States was from north- 
ern Europe and in the minds of the people was a well grounded 
dislike for the institution of slavery owing to the competition 
arising from it ! in fields of labor. To this influence can be at- 
tributed the fact that little of the cheap land of the Southwest 
was taken up by foreigners. The climate may also have oper- 
ated to turn the stream of immigration northward, for in the 
northern states was found a climate more nearly corresponding 
to that of northern Europe and consequently more to the liking 
of the immigrants, for here crops could be raised similar to 
those raised at home 



113 History of Kane County, 228. 

114 Historical Magazine, 7, 346. 



[221] 



508 BULLETIN OE THE UNIVERSITY OE WISCONSIN 



CHAPTER XII 



The Mormons in Illinois 



The decade 1841-50 in the history of Illinois settlement is 
particularly and peculiarly interesting owing to the foundation 
of several settlements, within the limits of the state, whose im- 
pelling motive was either religion or a desire to build up a new 
and reformed social structure. First in order of time came the 
Mormons, a sect believing themselves thoroughly imbued with 
the true religion and wishing, by taking up their abodes within 
the limits of friendly Illinois, to escape the persecution which 
had followed them from place to place. 

It is not necessary to speak of the doctrines of the Mormon 
church which have made this institution a source of suspicion 
and distrust to society in general and of hatred to those who 
have come into direct opposition to its members. Of its early 
history little need be said save that after the discovery of the 
Golden Plates by Joseph Smith the prophet, the church grew 
with rapidity. Al permanent settlement was not to be founded 
however, since the people who were compelled to live as neighbors 
of the Latter Day Saints looked upon them with a feeling of 
aversion. 

First settling in Ohio, they afterwards moved to Missouri 
where they lived in peace for a short space of time. Here again, 
after accumulating much property and bringing their lands to 
a high state of cultivation, they were driven from their homes' 
by the Missourians, who, incensed by thefts and robberies com- 
mitted in the neighborhood of the Mormon colony, did not stop 
to inquire into causes or to seek out the guilty ones but in the 
midst of the winter of 1838-39 fell upon the settlement and ex- 
pelled the whole church from the state. In the dead of winter, 

[222] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 509 

suffering from hunger, cold and sickness, numerous families set 
out on foot walking the entire distance to Illinois. 1 Others, by 
virtue of a treaty made with the men of Missouri, were allowed 
to stay until spring. They offered their lands for sale at small 
prices and even bartered farms for wagons and teams 2 by means 
of which to convey their families out of the state. 

In the spring of 1839, the main body of the Saints arrived 
in Illinois where they told tales of persecution and privation 
which, linked with the spectacle of utter destitution and wretch- 
edness which they presented upon arriving, awakened the warm- 
est sympathy among the citizens 3 of Hancock county where they 
landed. Great hospitality and kindness were shown them by 
the Illinoisans. 

The town of Venus, later called Commerce, containing a few 
hundred inhabitants, 4 and occupying one of the most beauti- 
ful sites on the Mississippi river was the destination of the 
Mormon emigrants. Here they settled to the number of 5,000 5 
and changing the name of Commerce to Nauvoo, which, accord- 
ing to the Prophet means in the Hebrew "the beautiful," they 
began to build their habitations. They were soon located at 
different points all over Hancock county and to some extent 
through the adjoining counties of Pike, Schuyler, McDonough, 
Henderson and Warren. The largest settlements outside of 
Nauvoo were at LaHarpe, Plymouth, Macedonia, Green Plains 
and Montebello — all in Hancock county. 6 Besides land pur- 
chased in Illinois, additional purchases were made in Iowa terri- 
tory just across the river. Together the total amount of land 
purchased was about $70,000 in value. 7 On the Iowa side of 
the river some 2,000 people were located. 8 

With almost incredible rapidity the town of Nauvoo sprang 



1 Smith and Smith, Hist, of the Church of Jesus Christ and of the Latter Day 
Saints, 2, 340. 

2 Ibid., 2, 340. 

3 Bennett, History of the Saints, 139. 

* Overland Monthly, 16, N. S., 620. 

5 Buckingham, Eastern and Western States, 3, 193. For illustrations of 
Nauvoo see Berry, The Mormon Settlement in Illinois in Transactions of t)h4 
Illinois State Historical Society, (1906). 

* Gregg, The Prophet of Palmyra, 156. 
amies' Register, 57, 320. 

8 Cincinnati Chronicle, Aug. 26, 1840. 

[223] 



510 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

up. By May, 1840, about three hundred dwellings had been 
erected. 9 These were block houses, 10 small wooden dwellings, 11 
-and occasional structures of more imposing size and appear- 
ance. 12 Many more were in the process of construction. The 
city was laid out with geometrical exactness. In dimension, it 
was four miles in length and three in breadth, 13 filling up the 
semicircular bend made by the river. The streets were wide, 
crossing each other at right angles 14 forming squares having 
an area of four acres each. These squares were subdivided into 
four lots of an acre each. 15 In the center of the city was the 
Temple Block. 

At the time of the coming of the Mormons, two political par- 
ties Were contending for supremacy in the state and the ad- 
vent of so many voters necessitated the party leaders taking 
steps to gain control of the new vote and consequently each vied 
with the other in its efforts to conciliate the Saints. 16 Just previ- 
ous to the election of 1840, the politicians crowded around the 
Prophet offering various inducements, but Smith, who was a 
shrewd man, if nothing else, wisely kept from giving pledges 
to either side until his price was offered. 17 

The price asked and given proved to be a high one and one 
which was to cause the citizens of the surrounding country as 
well as the state officers much trouble before many years had 
passed. Charters for the city of Nauvoo; for the Nauvoo Le- 
gion, a military organization wholly under the control of the 
city but nominally part of the Illinois militia; for the Nauvoo 
University, and for manufacturing purposes was the price. 18 
The Whig party, believing the price satisfactory, signified its 
willingness to pay it and the Mormons at the command of their 
leader cast a solid Whig vote, cutting down the Democratic 



amies' Register, 58, 192. 

10 Smith and Smith, Latter Day Saints, 2, 450. 

11 Kennedy, Early Days of Mormonism, 200. 

12 IUd. 

13 IUd. 

14 Smucker, History of the Mormons, 158. 

15 Overland Monthly, 16, N. S., 620. 

* 6 Amberley, The Latter Day Saints in Fortnightly Review, 12, 52ft, 
17 Kennedy, Early Days of Mormonism, 204. 
*• Bennett, History of the Saints, 139. 



[224] 



POOLE Y SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 511 

majority in the state to 1,900, the lowest it had ever been known 
to be. 19 The charters were granted at the meeting of the state 
legislature. 

The charter to the city granted almost unlimited powers. 
It established a government within a government. 20 It placed 
the legislative power of the city in the hands of a mayor, a vice- 
mayor, four aldermen and nine counsellors. 21 This council, the 
charter said "shall have power and authority to make, ordain, 
establish and execute all such ordinances not repugnant to the 
constitution of the United States or this state as they may deem 
necessary for the peace, benefit, good order, regulation, conven- 
ience and cleanliness of the city." 22 This, it will be observed, 
did not bind the Mormon council to observe the individual laws 
of the state and they could claim the right to establish 
a distinct and independent code of laws and it so happened. 23 
Jurisdiction within the city was granted to a municipal court 
composed of the mayor acting as Chief Justice and the four 
aldermen as Associate Justices. 24 

A power as great, or even greater, was conceded in the char- 
ter for the Nauvoo Legion. This was a military body composed 
of divisions, brigades, cohorts, regiments, battalions and com- 
panies under the command of the Prophet, 25 and at the disposal 
of the mayor for executive purposes. The number of troops 
was 3,000. 26 The university was organized with a President, 
a Board of Regents and chairs of Mathematics, English Litera- 
ture, Languages, Rhetoric and Belles Letters, and Church His- 
tory. 27 

For a time, the power granted by these several charters was 
used wisely enough and Nauvoo prospered, but the plenitude of 
power was too much for those in command and it was abused 
eventually when the authorities of the city went so far as to 



19 *Norris and Gardiner, Illinois Annual Register and Western Business Di- 
rectory (1847), 40. 

20 Kennedy, Early Days of Mormonism, 209. 

21 Ibid., 207. 

22 Ibid., 206. 

23 Amberley, The Latter Day Saints, in Fortnightly Revieiv, 12, 526. 
^Kennedy, Early Days of Mormonism, 207. 

25 Ibid., 208. 

26 Amberley, The Latter Day Saints, in Fortnightly Review, 12, 526. j 
2T The New York Weekly Herald, Jan. 15. 1842. 

15 [225] 



512 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

establish a recording office in which alone transfers of land 
could be recorded. 28 In addition to this an office for the issue 
of marriage licenses was established which was in direct oppo- 
sition to the rights of Hancock county. 29 At last it was pre- 
sumed by the municipal council to ask that the mayor be 
allowed to call in and use the United States troops whenever he 
should deem it necessary for the protection of himself or fol- 
lowers. 30 

Here, in the powers of the charters granted by the state of 
Illinois to the city of Nauvoo lay both the strength and weak- 
ness of the Mormon government. The strength was due to 
privileges granted which allowed the feeling of security to the 
inhabitants necessary to development; the weakness, in the 
jealousy aroused in the minds of the citizens of the surrounding 
country due to the rapid advance of the Mormons in wealth 
and the overbearing attitude arising therefrom. 

Before following out the adverse effects of the charters upon 
the Mormon Community, a glance must be taken at the rapid 
development of the city in size and wealth. The latter part of 
1841 and the early months of 1842 may be regarded as the high 
tide of Mormon prosperity in Illinois, — "the season of peace- 
ful sunshine before the storm." 31 Great improvements were 
made in the city during the time. Several hundred houses, 
some of them brick and stone were erected, 32 and on April 6, 
1841, the eleventh anniversary of the founding of the church 
in New York, the cornerstone of the Temple was' laid in the 
presence of several thousand assembled Saints. 33 It was an 
imposing structure of gray limestone 34 and represented on out- 
lay of $1,000,000. 35 

Industry did not lag in the meantime. Sawmills at Nauvoo 



28 Kennedy, Early Days of Mormonism, 207. 

29 Ibid. 

30 Ibid . 

31 Ibid., 221. 

32 'Nauvoo Times and Seasons, Sept. 15, 1841. 
53 Gregg, The Prophet of Palmyra, 183. 

34 The building was one hundred and twenty feet by eighty feet. It was 
sixty feet in height and to the top of the dome measured one hundred and fifty 
feet. (Ibid., 383.) 

™New York Weekly Tribune, July 15, 1843. Gregg (383) cites an estimate of 
the cost at $1,500,000, which he says is an exaggeration. 

[226] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 513 

and Black River Falls 36 in Wisconsin were in operation, manu- 
facturing lumber for building purposes. A steam flour mill, 
a tool factory, a foundry and a factory for chinaware were in' 
busy operation, bearing testimony of Mormon industry. 37 The 
city also owned a steamboat. 38 

It is hard to fix the population exactly at this or any other 
date during the colony's stay in Illinois, for the various writ- 
ers seldom, if ever, agree. Estimates of the population of Nau- 
voo during 1841 vary from 3,000 s9 given by the Prophet him- 
self to 10,000 given by a later writer. 40 Probably the former 
is nearer the correct number. Estimates of the Mormon popu- 
lation in Nauvoo the next year show similar discrepancies. 
Agreeing upon one point alone, that the growth of the commun- 
ity was wonderfully rapid, the authors proceed to place the 
numbers at anywhere from 5,000 41 to 30,000. 42 Here again, 
fortunately, we have an estimate made by a Mormon and pub- 
lished in the Nauvoo Times and Seasons, which places the popu- 
lation of the city itself at 10,000. 43 Allowing for others 
scattered through the towns around Nauvoo, 16,000 44 may be 
said to cover the entire number. 

In the latter half of 1842, Nauvoo had its greatest popula- 
tion. Not only had the Saints from Missouri occupied the new 
city, but hundreds from all over the country, complying with 
the summons of the Prophet to assemble at Nauvoo and aid in 
the construction of the Temple and the University, turned their 
faces toward the home of the church and hastened to take up 
their abodes either within the city or its immediate neighbor- 
hood. 45 



36 Branson, A Western Pioneer, 2, 168. 

37 Kennedy, Early Days of Mormonism, 199. 

38 Ibid. 

39 Smith and Smith, The Latter Day Saints, 2, 501. 

40 Caswell, The Prophet of the Nineteenth Century, 212. 

41 Gregg, The Prophet of Palmyra, 223. 
^The New York Herald, June 17, 1843. 

43 The New York Weekly Herald, Jan. 15, 1842 — copied from The Nauvoo Times 
and Seasons. 

44 Davidson and Stuve, History of Illinois, 498 ; New York Weekly Tribune, 
July 15, 1843, estimates 15,000 — 17,000; Madison City Express, July 27, 1843, 
copies from the BurUngton Iowa Gazette and estimates 15,000 to 17,000. 

46 Gregg, The Prophet of Palmyra, 162. 



[227] 



514 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

The plans of Joseph Smith were far-reaching and he deter- 
mined that the sinners of other lands should be called to re- 
pentance. Elders were appointed to go to England, 46 Scotland, 
Ireland and Nova Scotia, besides others who were to spread the 
new doctrine in the eastern states, Wisconsin Territory and 
Galena. 47 Handsome young 'women were chosen also to aid in 
the missionary work. 48 

The work prospered, especially in England, from which place 
many came to swell the congregation at Nauvoo. On June 6, 
1840, a colony of forty emigrants sailed from England, under 
the leadership of Elder Moore. 49 Three months later the Liver- 
pool Chronicle mentions the sailing of a packet from that port 
having on board two hundred steerage passengers belonging 
u to a sect called Latter Day Saints and bound for Quincy in 
the state of Michigan, on the borders of the Mississippi, where 
a settlement has been provided for them by one of their sect, 
who has purchased a large tract of land in Michigan." 50 

Occasionally newspapers recorded the movement of these col- 
onies to Nauvoo. The Cincinnati Chronicle, evidently mean- 
ing the first colony mentioned, speaks of thirty Mormons ar- 
riving in that city by keel-boat. 51 They had split into two par- 
ties at Pittsburg and the route of the second party does not 
seem to have been known by the writer. He, however, states 
that another party of the same sect, (probably the larger party 
which left in September) is on the way from England des- 
tined for Nauvoo. In all there were two hundred and forty who 
came in 1840. 52 

The years 1841, 1842, 1843, 1844 and 1845 saw additional 
converts from foreign lands come to dwell under the direct 
guidance of the Prophet. 53 The immigrants generally came in 



46 Beadle, Li;'e in Utah, 59. 

47 Mies' Register, 64, 336. 

48 Ibid., 63, 400. 

49 Smith and Smith, The Latter Day Saints, 2, 450 ; Kennedy, Early Days of 
Mormonism, 219, states the colony was under the leadership of Brigham Young. 

50 Niles' Register, 59, 144. 

51 Cincinnati Chronicle, Aug. 26, 1840. 

02 Kennedy, Early Days of Mormonism, 219. 

68 Smith and Smith, The Latter Day Saints (3, 1) give the following figures: 
1841 (769) ; 1842 (1991) ; 1843 (769) ; 1844 (501) ; Kennedy, Early Days of 
Mormonism (219), gives: 1840 (240) ; 1841 (1135) ; 1842 (1614) ; 1843 (769) ; 
no statistics for 1844 and 1845. 

[228] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 515 

large colonies numbering sometimes two, 54 three 55 or even five 
hundred 56 souls. They landed at various ports from Quebec 57 
to New Orleans 58 and came to Nauvoo either by way of the Ohio 
or Mississippi river. The unanimous opinion of people coming 
in contact with these emigrants on their way to the West was 
that they were respectable looking 59 farmers or mechanics and 
by no means from the lowest classes in England, 60 people "who 
would make good settlers if they were free from the infatua- 
tion of Mormonism. " 61 

This constant stream of immigration^ it will be seen, did 
much towards aiding the rapid growth of Nauvoo and the pe- 
culiarity worthy of most attention seems to be that by far the 
greatest number of foreign converts were English. One writer 
who visited Nauvoo during 1844 says that "of the 16,000 fol- 
lowers assembled at Nauvoo, 10,000 are said to be from Eng- 
land." 62 The other foreigners were from Germany and Scot- 
land. 

With increase of numbers, an increase of prosperity came and 
with increased prosperity, more effort was made towards beau- 
tifying the city. In the construction of houses taste was shown 
and often evidences of wealth. 63 The work on the temple 
progressed steadily, additional manufactures were added to the 
number already in operation, evincing industry and economic 
success. 64 New farms were enclosed, the land was put under 
cultivation and a general air of success pervaded the whole 
neighborhood. 65 

Nauvoo impressed visitors in various ways. One visitor in 
speaking of the city says, "Such a collection of miserable 



54 New York Weekly Herald, Apr. 9, 1842. 

55 Museum of Foreign Literature, 45, 9. 
amies' Register, 64, 96. 

57 ma., 60, 304. 

58 New York Weekly Herald, Apr. 9, 1842 ; Madison City Express, Apr. 25, 
1844. (From St. Louis Era.) 

59 New York Weekly Herald, Apr. 9, 1842 ; Cincinnati Chronicle, Aug. 26, 1840, 

60 Museum of Foreign Literature, 45, 9. 

61 Madison City Express, Apr. 25, 1844. (From The St. Louis Era.) 

62 Lewis, Impressions of America and the American Churches, 265. 

63 Madison City Express, July 27, 1843. 

64 Smucker, History of the Mormons, 159. 

, « iud. : \ 



[229] 



516 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

houses and hovels I could not have believed existed in one 
place. ' ' 66 

Other writers who have visited the place speak more highly 
of it and some with marked enthusiasm. Among these a cer- 
tain Mr. Newhall, who visited Nauvoo in the autumn of 1843, 
published his impressions in a New England newspaper, giving 
a description which is both vivid and interesting. He says, 
"Instead of seeing a few miserable log cabins and mud hovels 
which I had expected to find, I was surprised to see one of the 
most romantic places that I had visited in the West. The 
buildings, though many of them were small, and of wood, yet 
bore marks of neatness which I have not seen equalled in this 
country. The far-spread plain at the bottom of the hill was 
dotted over with the habitations of men, with such majestic 
profusion that I was almost willing to believe myself mistaken, 
and instead of being in Nauvoo of Illinois among Mormons, 
that I was in Italy at the city of Leghorn which the location of 
Nauvoo resembles very much. I gazed for sometime with fond 
admiration on the plain below. Here and there rose a tall 
majestic brick house, speaking loudly of genius and the untir- 
ing labor of the inhabitants. I passed on into the more active 
parts of the city looking into every street and lane to observe 
all that was passing. I found all the people engaged in some 
useful and healthy employment. The place was alive with 
business — much more than any place I have visited since the 
hard times commenced. I sought in vain for anything that 
bore marks of immorality but was both astonished and highly 
pleased at my ill success. I could see no loungers around the 
streets nor any drunkards about the taverns. I did not meet 
with those distorted features of ruffianism or with the 
illbred and impudent. I heard not an oath in the place. I 
saw not a gloomy countenance, all were cheerful, polite and in- 
dustrious." 67 From this description we may conclude that 
there was something to commend in Nauvoo and its inhabitants, 
for the writer had visited many places in his trip through the 



66 Overland Monthly, 16, N. S. 617. 

67 Smucker, History of the Mormons, 152. (Extract from the Salem (Mass.) 
Advertiser.) 

[230] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 517 

"West and had had abundant opportunities offered for compar- 
isons. 

The newly built dwellings of the rural districts around Nau- 
voo did not present the same uniform prosperity. This can be 
explained by the fact that these farms were just being opened 
up and the habitations erected upon them were in keeping with 
the general character of pioneer dwellings. 

Such was Nauvoo, the city of the Latter Day Saints, when the 
storm broke over them. The city itself was the largest one in 
Illinois, having in 1845 some 15,000 68 inhabitants. Next to St. 
Louis, it was the most important central point and supply de- 
pot of the western territory. 69 Some families had left by 
3.844, already anticipating a visitation similar to the one exper- 
ienced in Missouri, but others had been added in greater num- 
bers to take their places 70 until by the end of 1844, 30,000 Mor- 
mons resided in Nauvoo and its vicinity. 71 

In order to understand the expulsion of the Mormons, it 
is necessary to return to the early history of the settlement. 
Scarcely had the Mormons settled in Hancock county when 
trouble arose. Several inhabitants of Shelby county became 
converts, whereupon a mob attacked them. The Mormons in 
retaliation secured warrants from Judge Breese calling for the 
arrest of fifteen of the leaders, but the militia, when called upon 
to assist in serving the warrants, flatly refused. 72 

Little by little the opposition grew, quietly at first, but 
turned by later events into an open and bitter hostility. The 
extraordinary privileges granted by the charter 73 to Nauvoo 
were instrumental at first in exciting the envy and distrust of 
the citizens of the surrounding country. An independent mili- 
tary force devoted to the Prophet and the right claimed by 
him to disregard warrants for the arrest of any person in Nau- 
voo, if issued from other places, seemed more than the people 
could bear. Moreover, ,(the political party which had not re- 



63 Beadle, Life m Utah, 134. 

69 Chicago Tribune, Mar. 6, 1886. 

70 Nauvoo Times and Seasons, 5, 743. 

71 Smith and Smith, Latter Day Saints, 3, 1. 
™mies> Register, 56, 336. 

73 Amherley, The Latter Day Saints, in Fortnightly Review, 12, 527. 



[331] 



518 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

ceived the Mormon vote was exasperated and combining forces 
with others, incensed by different causes, they conspired against 
the power of the Saints. On December 9, 1842, a motion was 
made in the legislature of Illinois to repeal the charter. 74 
Joseph Smith's brother, at that time a member, spoke earnestly 
against the proceeding, appealing to the Locofoco party to 
sustain his city. As a result no vote was taken and the Nauvoo 
charter was safe for the time. 

Reports also spread through the state that some Mormons 
at the instigation of Smith, had made an attempt upon the life 
of ex-governor Boggs of Missouri. 75 Some foundation was 
given to the reports when Governor Reynolds issued requisition 
papers for the arrest of Sniith as a fugitive from justice. ' After 
some delay, caused by the Mormon authorities at Nauvoo, Smith 
gave himself up for trial, and after being heard, was released, 
owing to insufficient evidence being produced agaginst him. 76 

Still another episode helped to inflame the Illinoisans. John 
C. Bennett, at one time the right hand man of Smith and com- 
mander of the Nauvoo Legion, quarreled with his chief and left 
the city in great wrath. 77 Having been for several years in 
high circles in Nauvoo, he worked great harm to the Saints by 
publishing an expose 78 of Mormonism, severe and scathing in its 
nature, and substantiating in every respect reports of corrupt- 
ness and immorality existing within the city. Eagerly grasp- 
ing at anything which would give them a right to work ven- 
geance upon the citizens of Nauvoo, many good and patriotic 
men began to believe that Nauvoo was a second Sodom and a 
foul spot which should be blotted out. 79 

As time went on the hatred increased and difficulties multi- 
plied. One of the many charges made against these people 
was that they were prone to appropriate the property of their 
Gentile neighbors. 80 This was strenuously denied by the Mor- 



74 Mies' Register, 63, 304. 
™IMd. 3 63, 389. 
™'Ibid., 63, 389. 

77 Kennedy, Early Days of Mormonism, 222. 

78 The work is entitled, History of the Saints : or an Expose* of Joe Smith 
and Mormonism, (Boston, 1842.) 

"Kennedy, Early Days of Mormonism, 222. 
80 Gregg, The Prophet of Palmyra, 189. 

[232] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 519" 

mons. Extremely poor when they arrived in Illinois, owing 
to the fact that they had been dragged about from place to 
place and robbed of their goods either by unbelievers or by the 
elders of the church in attempts to accumulate property for 
their own personal benefit, the Mormons had gained in wealth so 
rapidly that their honesty was questioned. 

The doctrines of the church did not support theft but they 
did teach that, sooner or later, the goods of the Gentiles were 
to fall into the hands of the Saints. 81 Since they Were the true 
children of the Lord to whom belonged the earth and its rich- 
ness, it was only just and proper that the Mormons should ap- 
propriate such portions as were deemed necessary. 82 Such were 
the allegations of their critics. 

Out of fairness to that part of the Mormon population of 
Nauvoo which believed in the church and tried to live moral 
lives it must be said that probably a large number of the thefts 
committed were the work of a class of horse-thieves, house- 
breakers and villains who gathered in Nauvoo that they might 
cloak their deeds in mystery. 83 This class cared nothing for re- 
ligion and were baptised that they might find refuge in the city, 
for refuge was given to all claiming a part in the church. 
When stolen property was traced to Nauvoo, which was often 
the case, neither the owner nor even officers of the law were 
able to recover it. Pursuers were set at defiance within the 
Mormon stronghold, often robbed of their horses and driven 
out of the city with insults. 84 Because of this protection it 
was not long until thefts were committed in broad daylight 
before the eyes of the farmers themselves who were powerless to 
prevent depredations. 

Moreover, it was charged that Nauvoo harbored a nest of 
counterfeiters who operated in the surrounding county. 85 Specie 
alone would be taken at the government land offices in payment 
for lands. These men would on occasions load their bogus 



81 Ibid. 

82 Letter of Henrietta C. Jones in Storied of the Pioneer Mothers of Illinois. 
(MSS. in 111. Hist. Library.) 

83 Gunnison, The History of tlxe Mormons, 116. 
^Niles' Register, 69, 110. 

85 New York Weekly Tribune, Jan. 5, 1846. 



[233] 



520 BULLETIN - OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

coin into a wagon, cover it with light articles of merchandise to 
give the outfit the appearance of a peddler's wagon, and proceed 
into land districts where specie was in demand. There they 
Avould trade off their coin for paper money. Tales of the 
"spiritual- wife" doctrine were also afloat in the country, which 
supported by the expose of Bennett added fuel to the fire. 

Even this list of grievances shows but in part the reason for 
the downfall of the Church of Mormon in Illinois. Jealousy, 
rivalry and dissension within the church itself at last opened 
the road, by means of which the final expulsion took place. A 
new church with William Law as President was established 
during the spring of 1844. 86 Not satisfied with this move Law, 
with the faction, decided to establish a newspaper in the strong- 
hold of Mormonism with the avowed purpose of making an at- 
tack upon the leaders of the church. Accordingly on June 7 
of the same year, the Nauvoo Expositor appeared, bearing the 
motto, "The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the 
truth." 87 It boldly attacked Smith and his associates for im- 
morality. The first issue was the last, for on the tenth of the 
month the city council declared the Expositor a nuisance and 
the city marshal at the head of the police force destroyed the 
press, while the editors fled from the city making appeals to the 
laws of the state for redress. 88 

The action of the Mormon authorities was construed as an 
attack upon free speech, liberty of the press and the right of 
private property, 89 and writs for the arrest of Joseph Smith 
and others were secured at Carthage, the county seat of Hancock 
county. 90 Officers were sent to make the arrests but after they 
were effected the constable of Nauvoo produced a writ of habeas 
corpus sworn out before the municipal court of the city and 
compelled the release of the prisoners. 91 Feeling against the 
Mormons ran high and many of them foreseeing serious trouble 



86 Gregig, The Prophet of Palmyra, 237. 

87 Kennedy, Early Days of Mormonism, 234. 

M Amberley, The Latter Day Saints in Fortnightly Review, 12, 527; Nile? 
Register, 66, 278. 

8 » Kennedy, Early Days of Mormonism, 234. 

»°Niles' Register, 66, 278. 

91 Kennedy, Early Days of Mormonism, 239. 



[234,] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OP ILLINOIS, 1830-50 521 

left the city. Joseph Smith placed the city under martial law, 
while armed bands of Gentiles formed throughout the country 
enrolled under the sheriff's orders, ready to march upon Nau- 
voo. 92 

Here Governor Ford interfered. Coming to Carthage he 
sent a message to the prophet demanding an explanation of the 
trouble. Smith went in person to Carthage to make his defence 
and was bound over, together with the members of the Nauvoo 
city council, to appear at the following term of court. Almost 
immediately after the hearing, the prophet with three followers 
was arrested upon the charge of treason and thrown into jail. 93 
Rumors were afloat that an attempt would be made to rescue 
the prisoners, and, to frustrate this plan, an entrance was forced 
into the jail by a party of militia-men and both the Smiths were 
murdered. 94 

The Mormons in Nauvoo feared a general attack upon their 
city, while a panic spread through Carthage. In two hours the 
town was deserted. Men, women and children, all fearing 
Mormon vengeance fled on foot, on horseback and in wagons. 95 
The shock was too great for the Mormons and they made no 
attempt to take vengeance. 96 Nine men were indicted, charged 
with the murder of the Smiths but were acquitted after trial. 97 

The Mormon power, although it had received a severe blow, 
was not broken. Brigham Young took up the reins of govern- 
ment and Nauvoo gave promise of prosperity but another setback 
was experienced almost immediately. The August election had 
resulted in the success of the Mormon ticket in Hancock county 
and officials obnoxious to the Gentiles were elected. 98 The pre- 
vious September had seen a body of resolutions passed by the 
citizens of the county stating that they would refuse to obey 
officers elected by the Mormons. 99 This was followed in June, 
1844, by another act, passed by the citizens of Warsaw, being 



* Utiles' Register, 66, 278. 

93 Kennedy, Early Days of Mormonism, 240-242. 

94 Mies' Register, 66, 311. 

95 Gregg, The Prophet of Palmyra, 280. 
98 Miles' Register, 66, 329. 

97 Gregg, The Prophet of Palmyra, 298. 

™Ioid., 320. 

"Mies' Register, 65, 70. 



[235] 



522 BULLETIN OF THE "UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

much more threatening in character. The resolutions called for 
the expulsion of the Mormons from the township and advised 
the neighboring townships to adopt the same plan. Moreover,, 
they favored driving all Mormons into Nauvoo and demanding 
from them their leaders. A refusal would be taken as a signal 
for a war of extermination and, the resolutions continue "we- 
shall hold ourselves at all times at readiness to co-operate with 
our fellow-citizens in this state, Missouri and Iowa to extermi- 
nate, utterly exterminate, the wicked and abominable Mormon 
leaders." 100 

The state legislature took up the matter in December, 1844,. 
and before the end of January, 1845, a bill to repeal all the 
Mormon charters had passed both houses and the fate of Nau- 
voo was sealed. 101 Although at this time it was the largest and 
most prosperous town in the state it began to decline in spite 
of all efforts made by the Mormons to sustain it. 102 

For the remainder of the year 1845 the Saints remained at 
Nauvoo and the vicinity but not unmolested. Over two hun- 
dred houses belonging to Mormons were burned at Morleytown,. 
Bear Creek, and Green Plains. 103 Deputies were sent to Young 
in September telling him that the Mormons were to be expelled 
from the state, to which notification he replied that he had al- 
ready determined to leave Nauvoo. 104 

A formal treaty was made to the effect that the Mormons 
should leave in the spring of 1846, provided they were protected 
from attacks in the meantime and allowed to dispose of their 
property in peace. 105 Representatives from Brown, Pike, 
Adams, Schuyler, Knox, Henderson and other counties, men of 
high standing who earnestly desired the welfare of the state, 
met in Carthage early in October and passed resolutions stating 
that in their belief the removal of the Mormons was the only 
solution to the existing difficulty and recommending to the peo- 



100 Riles' Register, 66, 278. 

101 Gregg, The Prophet of Palmyra, 321. 

102 Smith and Smith, Latter Day Saints, 3, 122. 

los Gregg, The Prophet of Palmyra, 328 ; Beadle, Life in Utah, 137. 

104 Amherley, The Latter Day Saints, in Fortnightly Review, 12, 534. 

105 IUd. 



[236] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 523 

pie of the surrounding counties that the proposition of the Mor- 
mons to move in the spring be accepted. 106 

All during the winter of 1845-46 prodigious preparations 
were made in Nauvoo for removal in the early spring. All the 
nouses and even the Temple were turned into workshops and be- 
fore the river was clear of ice in the spring 12,000 wagons were 
ready for use. 107 While the river was yet frozen and the cold 
was intense, the first band, numbering one thousand, left Nauvoo 
for the West, 108 but the great body of the Saints remained in the 
city until they had performed a sacred duty — the completion of 
the Temple. Although they knew they could never use it, yet 
it was finished with elaborate care and consecrated early in 
May. 109 By the middle of the month 16,000 110 had left, leaving 
only about one thousand who had not yet been able to dispose 
of their property. 111 

Some wished to remain, saying they had left the church and 
t?ould no longer be obnoxious, others had not the means to get 
away. The Gentiles, however, were not willing to agree to this, 
believing that peace could not be restored as long as a vestige 
of Mormonism was left. The prevailing sentiment was that 
4 'Every Saint, mongrel or whole-blood" and every thing that 
looked like a Saint, talked or acted like a Saint, should be com- 
pelled to leave. 112 

The more often the Mormons expressed a desire to remain in 
Illinois the more determined were the citizens that they should 
not. Things approached a crisis and it soon appeared that those 
Mormons who remained, no'w probably six hundred in number, 
seemed resolved to defend their city to the last. 113 The Gentiles 
began to gather their forces and 1,200 under the leadership of 
Rev. Brockman laid regular seige to Nauvoo in September, 
1846. 115 After a pitched battle, which resulted in the death of 



106 Gregg, The Prophet of Palmyra, 335. 

107 Beadle, Life in Utah, 142. 

108 Gregg, The Prophet of Palmyra, 343. 

109 Amberley, The Latter Day Saints, in Fortnightly Review, 12, 534. 

110 Smith and Smith, Latter Day Saints, 3, 164. 

111 Beadle, Life in Utah, 142. 

112 Madison Express, Feb. 12, 1846. 
il5 Mles' Register, 7, 272. 

115 Amberley, The Latter Day Saints, in Fortnightly Revleio, 12, 534. 



[237] 



524 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OP WISCONSIN 

several on each side, 116 the Mormons surrendered and agreed to 
leave the state at once. 117 

Nauvoo was now abandoned save for the lone Mormon agent 
who remained in charge of the property, 118 wistfully looking 
for purchasers or tenants, and waiting for any possible answer 
to the following advertisement : 

''Temple for Sale. 
The undersigned Trustees of the Latter Day Saints propose to 
sell the Temple on very low terms, if an early application is 
made. The Temple is admirably designed for Liiterary or Ke- 
ligious purposes. Address the undersigned Trustees. 

Almon W. Babbitt, 
Joseph L. Heywood, 
John S. Fullmer. 
Nauvoo, May 15, 1846. " 119 

To Illinois, the expulsion of this sect seems to have been a 
blessing, for peace and quiet had for years been almost unknown 
in that portion of the state lying around the Mormon strong- 
hold. Of the four religious or communistic settlements in Ill- 
inois this one alone was not welcome, and alone of all was not 
allowed to work out its o'wn destiny unmolested. One reason 
may be assigned. The people of the state firmly believed the 
Mormons nothing more than a band of imposters and rascals. 
While the Mormon settlement in Illinois is an exceptional case 
in the settlement of the state it can be considered as a phase 
of the westward expansion. It is an example of a body of 
religious enthusiasts attempting to find a place on the frontier 
where they could put into operation their social and religious 
views. 

Originating in western New York which was a hot-bed for 
religious excitement, the followers moved to Ohio, then to Mis- 
souri, then to Illinois and finally to the far West. Smith was 
born in Windsor county, Vermont, and moved to New York in 
1815. The people among whom he found himself were ex- 



™mies> Register, 71, 64. 

117 Warsaw Signal, Oct. 13, 1846. 

118 Hillquit, History of Socialism in the United States, 129. 

119 Nauvoo Neiv Citizen, Feb. 24, 1847. 

[238] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 525 

tremely religious and superstitious. Prophecies and miracles 
were believed in and the Bible accepted literally making the 
state a natural field for wild religious speculation. With in- 
creased converts came the vision of a community devoting itself 
entirely to the teachings of the Book of Mormon. The frontier 
was the natural place for such a community to work out its 
destiny and a home was sought, first in Ohio, then in Missouri 
and then in Illinois. 

However free the life and thought of the West might be it 
could not be brought to agree with or even, at last, to allow the 
exercise of views which seemed to be pernicious and destructive 
to religious and social order. The expulsion of the Mormons 
from Missouri and from Illinois shows another pioneer char- 
acteristic yet in the early stages of development. It was one 
of the first signs of "border ruffianism'' which was developed 
so rapidly in the Kansas struggle of the next decade. In this 
early stage the characteristic displayed was the beginning of the 
intolerant spirit towards a disliked institution. The expulsion 
was arbitrary; it was done simply because of antagonism and 
while Mormon ideals, beliefs and customs can in no way be sup- 
ported, the action of the citizens of the states is open to con- 
demnation. 

In some ways the city of the Mormons followed the general 
tendency and laws of development of western towns. Situated 
on a convenient transportation line and having a good back 
country to draw upon, it was bound to grow should external 
conditions not hinder. The development cannot, however, be 
attributed to natural causes at work in the western country; 
but it must be attributed to an immigration growing under 
fanatical religious pressure and here again Nauvoo is the ex- 
ception in westward expansion. Aside from the desire of a 
body of people to work out a social, communistic and religious 
experiment near the frontier line, the Mormon colony is not 
typical in the western movement. 



[239] 



126 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 



CHAPTER XIII 



Communistic Settlements in Illinois 

Before the Mormons were driven from Illinois, another inter- 
esting community was established within the bounds' of the 
state. The newcomers were followers of the French socialist, 
Fourier, and were putting to a practical test the theory ad- 
vanced by this man. The workings and life of the two settle- 
ments founded in Illinois seem to have attracted but little at- 
tention and almost nothing is known of the communities save 
that one of them numbering over one hundred members existed 
for a year and a half in Sangamon county. Of the earlier ex- 
periment in Bureau county nothing is known. 

Fourier, the father of the theory, founded his philosophy of 
human relations to God, the world and fellowmen upon the basis 
oi harmony. God created the universe on an harmonious plan, 
hence harmony was the keynote of all things. Within each 
person certain instincts and passions predominate and where- 
ever these passions and instincts were properly developed for 
the good of society, there the ideal state was to be found. 

For the proper development of the Phalanx, the basic unit 
of the system, three square miles of land were necessary upon 
which was to be built the Palace or common house. Every- 
thing was held in common and division of labor was highly 
developed. Farmers, capitalists, scientists and artists all had 
their spheres of employment. To each laborer a fixed sum was 
paid according to the amount of work he did and according to 
his ability. All profits went to a common fund. All children 
received equal instruction and from earliest childhood were 
trained for the Phalanx according to their inclination. 1 



1 Hillquit, History of Socialism in the United States, 85. 

[240] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS. 1830-50 527 



Practical tests of these dreams were made and, through the 
efforts of Albert Brisbane, Fourierism was introduced into the 
United States. 2 Societies were formed in Massachusetts, New 
York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, 
Michigan and Illinois. As a rule they were shortlived affairs 
and the ones in Illinois were no exception to the rule. 

Bureau county was the scene of the first experiment in Ill- 
inois. No definite information is obtainable concerning the 
number of members, the amount of land held by the society 
or the length of life of the community. It had its beginning 
in 1843 and was apparently a venture which met with no suc- 
cess. 3 

Two years later the Integral Phalanx began its life in San- 
gamon county, a few miles from Springfield. The settlement 
had one hundred and twenty members and owned over five 
hundred acres of land. Five or six buildings were erected 
upon the land besides the large central building which was a 
two-story structure, three hundred and sixty feet long and 
twenty-four feet wide. 4 

In actual life this community, while intending ultimately to 
follow out Fourier's idea in its details, does not seem to have 
conformed to the established rules during the early days of its 
existence. A correspondent to the New York Tribune wrote 
that " until the members were prepared to organize they in- 
tended to operate on a system of hired labor and pay each in- 
dividual a full compensation for all assistance rendered in labor 
or other services and charge each a fair price for what he re- 
ceived from the common store house of the Phalanx. What 
remained to each individual was then credited to him as stock 
and drew ten per cent, compound interest." 5 A further evi- 
dence that the community was never thoroughly organized as a 
Phalanx operating upon a communistic basis is found in the 
same article, for the correspondent says; "It is better that the 
different families should remain separate for five years than 



2 Hid., 87. 

3 Hinds, American Communities, 224. 

4 New York Weekly Tribune, Nov. 15, 1845. 

5 Ibid. 

16 [241] 



528 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

to bring them together under circumstances worse than civil- 
ization.' ' The venture lasted but seventeen months. 6 Prob- 
ably only the more enthusiastic members moved away to similar 
settlements in other places, the others remaining to take advan- 
tage of the excellent farming country. 

Next in order of time came the Swedish colony at Bishop Hill 
in Henry county. It was both religious and communistic in 
character. 

In Sweden no one was allowed to worship excepting accord- 
ing to forms of the established Lutheran church. In 1825 a 
split came in the church. A new sect composed of peasants and 
a few of the clergy, and known as the Devotionalists arose in 
the province of Helsingland. 7 For seventeen years these De- 
votionalists, under the guidance of their highly respected leader 
'Jonas Olson, assembled unmolested to read their Bibles, still 
enjoying their privileges as full members of the Established 
Church. 8 The work of the Devotionalists was commendable 
for it tended towards furthering industry and sobriety among 
the peasant class whose morals had been very low. 

Eric Jansen, who was also the head of a dissenting sect now 
(1842) appeared upon the scene, speaking with great effect to 
various assemblages of Devotionalists. The Jansonists had been 
cast out of the Established Church in 1834 and from that time 
had been subjected to persecutions by the orthodox party.* 
Jansen had been imprisoned but escaped through Norway to 
Denmark and thence to New York. 10 

A large number of Swedes having now become dissatisfied 
with the state of religious affairs in their native land resolved 
to emigrate. The Jansonists included many among their num- 
ber Who were miners and poor peasants unable to bear the ex- 
pense of a voyage to America. To remedy this, the idea of 
making the colony communistic was conceived and carried out. 11 
A messenger sent in 1845 to seek a place suitable for a colony, 



a Hinds, American Communities, 224. 

7 Mikkelsen, The Bishop Hill Colony, in Johns Hopkins Univ. Studies* 10, 15. 

9 ma. 

»Ibid., 24. 

10 Nelson, Scandinavians in the United States, 2, 2-3. 

» Mikklesen, The Bishop Hill Colony, in Johns Hopkins Univ. Studies, 10, 27. 



[242] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 529 

upon arriving in New York, was directed to Victoria, Knox 
county, Illinois. A satisfactory location having been found 
and the news conveyed to Sweden, preparations for departure 
were completed. 

In the early summer of 1846 between four and five hundred 
emigrants 12 set sail from Sweden, landing at New York where 
they were met by Eric Jansen, who acted as their conductor to 
Illinois. The scant means of the party were almost exhausted 
upon landing and as they were still far from their destination 
a serious problem confronted them. It is said that some of the 
men traveled the whole distance from New York on foot while 
the (women and children were sent by way of the Erie canal 
and the Great Lakes to Chicago. From Chicago to Henry 
county (the destination having been changed from Knox county 
owing to the reported unhealthful climate of that place) all 
excepting the weakly, women and children journeyed on foot, 
a distance of more than one hundred miles. 13 

The Harbinger in speaking of the party as it left Chicago 
in September, 1846, says that on the faces of these immigrants 
there were expressions of patient, intelligent endurance. "They 
were not bowed down with weakness and care like the French 
and Italian emigrants, nor stern and stolid like the newly arrived 
Germans, nor wild and vehement like many of the Irish — they 
walked erect and firm, looking always hopeful and contented 
though very serious," and the greatest gentleness and good will 
prevailed among them. 14 When they arrived in Henry county 
they purchased land and named their new home Bishop Hill in 
honor of the birth place of Jansen. 15 

It could not be said that their lives were happy during the 
first winter in Illinois. They lived in several log houses, two 
tents and a dozen "dug-outs." 16 Their fare was no better than 
their lodgings — pork with bread baked from the cornmeal ground 
by their mill furnished their food. When the stream which 



18 Nelson; Scandinavians in the United States, 2, 2-3 ; BigeLow, The Bishop 
Bill Colony in the 111. Hist. Society Transactions (1902), 101-108. 

13 Hinds, American Communities, 303. 

14 The Harbinger, 3, 257. 

18 Hinds, American Communities, 303. 

16 Nelson, Scandinavians in the United States, 2, 3. 



[243] 



530 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

turned the mill wheel could not be used, the work was done by 
two or three men. Scanty fare and poorly ventilated apart- 
ments soon brought on disease and the new settlers were either 
shaking with ague or burning with fever. Cholera appeared 
and a score died, while many fled to escape this scourge. 17 

During 1847 four hundred more arrived and by the close of 
the following year there were 1,200 in the settlement. 18 Cholera 
broke out again in 1849 and checked immigration. 19 

Like the Puritans the first thoughts of the Swedish settlers 
were for a church and a school. A large tent 20 (some say a 
log structure) 21 was erected for divine services. In summer 
the meetings were held in the open air. A mud cave at first 
answered the purpose of a school house. 22 

During the first year at Bishop Hill the colonists divided 
their waking hours between labor and worship save the time 
when they gathered around the common tables. "At five in 
the winter and four in the summer the bell summoned them to 
their morning devotions which sometimes lasted two hours." 23 
Sometimes at noon and after the evening meal services were 
again held. A school of theology was instituted and young 
men after studying the English language a few months, were 
sent forth to convert the United States and the world. 24 Their 
success was moderate, the Yankees being especially hard to 
convert since they were "too busy inventing bad clocks and 
peddling cheap tinware to listen to what the missionaries had 
to say." 26 

Farming was carried on extensively and was well done. 26 
Thousands of acres of land were cultivated and hundreds of 
cattle and horses went to make up the wealth of the settlement. 27 



17 Hinds, American Communities, 305. 

"Bigelow, The Bishop Hill Colony in the 111. Hist. Society Transactions 
O&02), 101-108; files' Register, 70, 260; gives the population as 1,100. 

19 Bigelow, The Bishop Hill Colony in the 111. Hist. Society Transactions 
(1902), 101-108. 

30 Hinds, American Communities, 305. 

21 Nelson, Scandinavians in the United States, 2, 3. 

23 Hinds, American Communities, 305. 

™Ioid., 306. 

84 Nelson, Scandinavians, in the United States, 2, 4. 

25 Mikklesen, The Bishop Hill Colony in Johns Hopkins Univ. Studies, 10, 31. 

w Nelson, Scandinavians in the United States, 2, 4. 

"Hinds, American Communities, 310. 

[244] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS,, 1830-50 531 

Men, women, boys and girls alike worked in the fields. 28 Flax 
and broom corn were produced, and as many of the colonists had 
been expert weavers in their native land they pursued the in- 
dustry in their new homes. 29 Sawmills were erected and fur- 
nished an abundance of lumber. 30 The manufacture of kiln- 
dried bricks became one of the industries. 31 

By 1850, when the greatest prosperity of the colony began, 
nearly every province of Sweden was represented at Bishop 
Hill, which was, at that time, by far the most populous and im- 
portant settlement in Henry county. 32 Between $10,000 and 
$15,000 in gold had been put into circulation by these Swedes 
in purchasing land and the necessaries of life, which, since trade 
in the section of the state was being carried on almost entirely 
by barter, was a matter of no little importance to the people. 33 

Dissension finally arose within the colony and culminated in 
the murder of Jansen in 1850. 34 As has been stated the Bishop 
Hill settlement was communistic in character and the wealth 
of the colony which was held in common was controlled hy 
seven trustees who held office subject to the approval of the 
male members of the colony. 35 The common dining hall, where 
the whole community numbering more than a thousand were 
fed, was a feature distinctly communistic. 36 The trustees were 
provided for by a charter granted to the colony by the legisla- 
ture of Illinois in 1853. Two years later financial entangle- 
ments due to unsuccessful speculation by the trustees caused 
the dissolution of the colony, 37 and here ended perhaps the most 
successful experiment among the communistic settlements of 
Illinois. 

In the closing years of the decade 1841-1850 another social 
experiment was begun on the site of the Mormon city, Nauvoo. 



28 ma., 307. 

29 Nelson, Scandinavians in the United States, 2, 4. 

so ma., 4. 

31 Hinds, American Communities, 310. 

32 Mikklesen, The Bishop Hill Colony in Johns Hopkins Univ. Studies, 10, 3d. 

33 ma. 

34 Bremer, The Homes of the New Woria, 2, 67-70. 

35 Hinds, American Communities, 311. 
38 ma., 310. 

37 Nelson, Sconainavians in the Unitea States, 2, 6. 



[245] 



532 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

The founder was M. Etienne Cabet, a Frenchman, whose child- 
hood had been passed during the stormy days of the French 
Revolution and whose youth had witnessed the struggle of 
France in her vain endeavor to satisfy the ambition of Napo- 
leon. It is scarcely to be wondered at that this man who was 
one of some ability as a statesman and a writer should have 
conceived a plan by means of which he thought to correct the 
corrupt organization of society. The abolition of self-interest 
and selfishness must, he believed, be effected; common owner- 
ship of property must be established; freedom of religion must 
be tolerated; women must be given the same social rights as 
men and equality be made the basis of society. 38 

These communistic doctrines met with much support among 
the common people of France but not with the higher classes. 
Not only were the French interested but other nationalities and 
in foreign countries the better classes of artisans seemed to be 
the ones most in favor of Cabet 's teachings. 39 By the Social- 
istic paper La Populaire, Cabet 's ideas were disseminated 
among the artisans of Germany, Spain, Italy and Switzerland — 
everywhere that the French language could be read. By 1848 
some 400,000 people adhered to the Icarian doctrine. 40 

Owing to the fact that it was not generally accepted in France, 
Cabet decided to move to America and establish his settlement 
there. Thousands who wished to go had not the means, so 
sixty-nine were chosen as a vanguard, from among those who 
could afford to make the voyage, and in February, 1848, they 
left Havre bound for New Orleans. 41 Fifteen hundred were 
soon to follow, but upon the establishment of the Second Repub- 
lic in 1848 it seemed as if better days were coming in France, 
and the greater part of those intending to leave for America 
changed their plans and remained at home. Later in the year 
four hundred came. 42 The destination of the colony was Texas 43 
but it was not long before the dream of a community farm of 



38 Reynolds, Illinois, 374. 

39 Robinson, A Social Experiment in The Open Court, Aug, 28, 1890. 

40 ma. 

41 Ibid. 

42 Ibid. 

43 Hinds, American Communities, 328. 



[246] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830~50 533 

a million acres in that state faded away under a series of hard- 
ships too severe for the people to stand. On January 1, 1849, 
Cabet landed in New Orleans. 44 The colony now consisted of 
four hundred and eighty souls with an average capital of 
thirty-five dollars per individual. 45 

The Texas venture was a failure. Some were discouraged 
and gave up; 46 others remained firm, determined to carry out 
their original plan of a colony based upon a proper social 
structure. Exploring parties were sent out to seek a more 
favorable location and Nauvoo was selected. 47 Brigham Young 
when he had organized the migration to Salt Lake had left the 
Mormon property at Nauvoo in the hands of an agent who re- 
mained waiting for a purchaser. This was an excellent op- 
portunity for the Icarians, since the land was well cultivated 
and there were good houses all of which could be obtained at a 
nominal figure. Eight hundred acres of land were rented and 
a mill, distillery and several houses were purchased. 48 Here, 
dispirited and homesick as they were, the Icarians attempted 
to carry out their ideas of a reorganized social life, as well as 
circumstances would allow. 

A constitution was drawn up setting forth the fundamentals 
of governmental and social structure. The idea was to replace 
the old world by a new one; to supplant the rule of Satan by 
the rule of God ; moral death by regeneration ; ignorance by edu- 
cation; domination and servitude by enfranchisement and lib- 
erty; aristocracy by democracy; and monarchy by republican- 
ism. Furthermore, they desired to replace excessive opulence 
of a few by the well-being of all; to substitute a religion of 
reason Which would induce men to love each other, for religions 
mixed with superstition, intolerance and fanaticism; to adopt a 
social organization in which the word "society" would no 
longer be mockery and falsehood; to replace individual prop- 
erty, the source of all abuse, by social property; to purify the 
institutions of marriage and family by educating women as 



** Robinson, A Social Experiment in The Open Court, Aug. 28, 1890. 

* 5 Ibid. 

46 Reynolds, Illinois, 372. 

* T Robinson, A Social Experiment in The Open Court, Aug. 28, 1890 ; Miller, 
Mrs. J. G., The Icarian Community of Nauvoo, Illinois in Transactions of the 
Illinois State Historical Society, (1906). 

* s Hillquit, History of Socialism in the United States, 129. 

[247] 



534 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

well as men and allowing them unrestricted choice in the selec- 
tion of husbands, and finally to base all upon liberty, equality 
and fraternity. 49 

Unity, solidarity, equality and respect of law were to be per- 
fected by having all live as one family, assuming mutual re- 
sponsibility, suppressing servitude and submitting to the rule 
of the majority. The exercise of natural liberty should extend 
to the right of defense from attack, social liberty should not be 
exercised beyond the law while political liberty consisted in as- 
sisting to make laws. The fundamental guiding principle was to 
be found in the maxim "Love thy neighbor as thyself." 50 

All male members over twenty-one years of age were allowed 
to take an active part in the government. All branches of so- 
ciety were under the supervision of committees and education 
was given special attention, for in the younger generation Cabet 
hoped to see the realization of his ideals of social and govern- 
mental structure, and the children Were educated accordingly 
by the community, living together as a single family. 

The everyday life of the community was simple but inter- 
esting. Each member worked according to his strength, labor- 
ing ten hours a day. On Sunday lectures were given on moral 
and religious subjects; dancing and the enjoyment of nature 
were indulged in during the day while theaters and concerts 
were held in the evening. The business of the community was 
discussed on Saturday evening. 51 

The industry of the members, their peaceful and orderly 
habits caused them to be esteemed by their American neighbors. 
They were a sociable and intellectual people living a better life 
than could have been lived under a system of individualism and 
they formed a pleasant contrast to the people who had occupied 
the site of their colony only a few years before. 

Financial troubles, however, at last caused dissension and 
numbered the Icarian community among the failures of social- 
istic experiments. The colony divided, part going with Cabet 
to St. Louis and the remainder to Iowa. 52 



49 Charter and By-Laws of the Icarian Community, 7-8. 

50 Ibid., 9-16. 

51 Reynolds, Illinois, 376. 

52 "Robinson, A Social Experiment in The Open Court, Sept. 11, 1S90. 

[248] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 535 

There 'were a number of smaller colonies in the state based 
upon plans of a more or less communistic nature. In the Ill- 
inois river valley 53 were the Tremont, Delavan and Mackinaw 
colonies in Tazewell county and the Rockwell colony in La Salle 
county; in the Military Tract 54 there were the Andover, Weth- 
ersfield and Geneseo colonies in Henry county, the Hampshire 
and Providence colonies in Bureau county and Gale's colony 
in Knox county; in Eastern Illinois 55 there were the Rhode 
Island and Hudson colonies in McLean county, the German 
colony at Teutopolis, Effingham county, the French Colonie des 
Freres in Jasper county and Noel Vasseur's Canadian colony 
at Bourbonnais, Kankakee county. 

It was generally the plan of the organizers of these colonies 
to form stock companies, purchase land and allot tracts of it 
to the members of the companies in proportion to the amount 
of stock held. 56 Some of the colonies were chartered by the 
state. 57 Often a common house was erected by the company 
for. the accommodation of the settlers until homes could be pro- 
vided for the families. 58 

These colonies may be taken as a phase of the westward move- 
ment which seems to have appealed particularly to New Eng- 
landers and New York. There had been, since earliest times, 
a desire among New Englanders to live in compact settlements. 
Prom political and religious instincts the earliest settlers in' 
New England clung closely together. This tendency was 
strengthened by Indian wars and physiographic influences. 
It appears that, although many New Englanders came west 
alone trusting to individual efforts to establish homes in the 
new country, there was also a distinct movement to settle in 



53 See Cli. IV. for details of settlement and growth. 

54 Ch. V. 

55 Ch. VIII. 

56 The Delavan company had a capital of $44,000 and held 23,000 acres of 
land (ch., IV.) ; the Wethersfield colony had a capital of $25,000 and held 20,- 
000 acres of land {cli., V) ; the Rhode Island colony had a capital of $12,500 
(ch., VIII) ; the Providence colony held 17,000 acres (ch., V) : the German colony 
at Teutopolis held 10,000 acres (ch., VIII) ; and the French colony in Jaeper 
county had 12,000 acres (ch., VIII). 

87 The Rhode Island Colony in McLean county was chartered by the state of 
Illinois (ch. VIII). 

68 The Providence colony (ch., V), the Delavan and Mackinaw colonies all- 
provided common houses (ch., IV). 

[249] 



536 BULLETIN" OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

colonies. From New York, also, similar attempts were made, 
but when one remembers that western New York was settled 
by New Englanders shortly after the Revolution, an explanation 
may be found in the New England origin of the New Yorkers. 
Probably many of these colonies which were planned in the 
thirties are due to the spirit of speculation which was rife in 
the country at the time. It is equally true that the financial 
difficulties of the closing years of that decade brought many of 
these ventures to an untimely end. Still another idea may have 
been in the minds of the promoters. The great prairies of the 
West could hardly be occupied successfully by individuals but 
with the concerted efforts of numbers it seemed that success 
could be obtained. Occasionally religion played a part in the 
birth of new colonies but it appears that the religious and social 
influences acted more strongly in those ventures which foreign- 
ers attempted. 

In the cases of the Phalanx and of Icaria can be seen an in- 
teresting phase of the westward expansion. These were at- 
tempts by a number of enthusiasts to put into operation cer- 
tain social ideals which they held. The frontier, or at least 
the new western country, was the most favorable place for these 
experiments, for here the members believed they could work 
out their plans unhampered. Illinois was still enough of a 
frontier state to allow the greatest possible social freedom and 
yet it lacked the dangers of the extreme frontier. 

The followers of Fourier were quiet, peaceful agriculturists 
who preached no doctrine harmful to society and they were con- 
sequently allowed to remain undisturbed, being regarded by the 
people of Illinois as a band of dreamers 1 , who sooner or later 
would see the weakness of their beliefs and abandon them. 

In the Icarian community is found an excellent example of 
a democratic government combined with pure communism in 
property. "When one examines the difficulties which confronted 
the Iearians, and remembers that the members of the commun- 
ity Were only average Frenchmen endowed with ordinary traits 
of human nature he will see that even though these people tried 
earnestly to live more equal, unselfish, altruistic lives they had 
embarked upon a difficult enterprise. Moreover, when it is 

[250] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 537 

remembered that the colony was composed chiefly of artisans 
from the French cities, rather than people of the farming class, 
and that they were totally ignorant of American customs, lan- 
guage, laws and business it may be wondered at that the colony 
attained the degree of success which it did. Besides there was 
no religious sentiment to spur on the members to success as was 
the case in the Bishop Hill settlement. 

The Bishop Hill colony, primarily religious in character, de- 
veloped, through necessity, into a communistic experiment. 
Upon arriving in Illinois, circumstances further developed com- 
munistic traits. Being from a foreign land and being un- 
familiar with American customs and forms of government, these 
newcomers felt that they were strangers, and being attached 
to the customs of their native land they continued to enjoy them. 
Moreover, in the new country there was, owing to the lack of 
transportation facilities, little opportunity for contact with the 
outer world. Agriculture was the chief industry, but with the 
manufacture of cloth, lumber and other necessaries and with 
the establishment of a college in connection with their church 
and school, the settlers made their community nearly self -suf- 
ficing. The common kitchen and dining-room and the super- 
vision of all business by trustees were important communistic 
features. The log houses and ' ' dug-outs ' ' for abodes ; the meals 
of pork and corn bread; the attacks of fever and ague, all show 
the frontier characteristics of the colony. 

In some respects the Bishop Hill colony differed from the other 
settlements of the same general class. The members attempted no 
new social organization as did the Icarians or the followers of 
Fourier, neither were they, like the Mormans, attempting to es- 
tablish a new religion, but they were, like the Puritan fathers, 
fugitives 1 from their native land attempting to worship as they 
wished in a new country. The communism practiced was not 
based upon a theory but was merely the outgrowth of existing 
circumstances and the desire of the well-to-do to aid the more 
unfortunate ones. 



[251] 



538 BULLETIN OE THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 



CHAPTEE XIV 



The Prairie Pioneer 



So far in the march of the frontiersmen toward the West, the 
way had been blazed by the hunter-pioneer type. The woods- 
men from Kentucky and Tennessee, impelled by an increasing 
desire to claim new lands had, by sheer force pushed the frontier 
line slowly towards the western horizon. Behind this class 
of settlers came another which moved more slowly and which 
for a time seemed to be outstripped in the race for new lands. 
Small farmers composed the class. They were not constantly 
changing their locations but rather were content to remain in 
one place until they could dispose of their farms with some 
profit. By 1830, therefore, the frontier line of the farmers was 
far in the rear of that of the woodsman. 

Physiography, however, caused the two classes to meet and 
oppose each other in the state of Illinois. Bounded on the south 
by the Ohio river, the highway of the hunter-pioneer from the 
Southwest; and covered by a network of streams on whose 
banks were groves of hard wood, Illinois was first sought by 
the pioneers from Kentucky and Tennessee. Slowly, at first, 
these groves were taken up, but by the early twenties' the San- 
gamon country had been reached and soon the valley of the 
Illinois was the site of hunters' cabins. It seems that a part 
of the wave of frontiersmen, which was crossing the valley of 
the Mississippi, paused, turned northward and followed the 
line of the Illinois river towards the prairies. 

By 1830 the noise of the southern axe and the crack of the 
southern rifle were heard along northern Illinois rivers, but 
before the decade was two years old the outbreak of Black 

[252] 



POOLE Y SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 539 

Hawk's warriors drove even the most venturesome back to the 
stronger settlements of the south. The re-occupation of the 
territory was slow, the advance cautious and the volume of the 
stream from the South slight. An improvement in transpor- 
tation facilities now took place which gave the agricultural 
settlers an advantage in the westward movement, and by open- 
ing a line of direct communication with the East, allowed the 
farmer to compete with the hunter for the first occupation of 
northern Illinois. 

Boats of any considerable size were few on the Great Lakes 
and few indeed, at first, were the immigrants who came to Ill- 
inois by the lake route. The advent of steam navigation brought 
a flood of settlers from the East. Yankees and New Yorkers, 
despised by the men of the Southwest, were poured upon the 
prairies of Illinois and took up the woodlands coveted by the 
Kentuckians and Tennesseeans before the latter could recover 
the ground lost in the Black Hawk War. Consequently, a bound- 
ary was placed to the activity of the hunter-pioneer in Illinois. 

So far in the movement of settlement across the continent the 
large farmer had followed in the wake of the hunter and the 
small farmer, buying up the clearings of the latter, extending 
their limits and devoting himself to intensive cultivation. 
Navigation of the lakes by steam reversed the order of things 
and the man who was formerly in the rear guard of this army 
of occupation was now in the front ranks. In the sense of 
making clearings for cultivation he was not a pioneer, for nature 
had already made clearings on a scale so vast that the settlers 
who wished to take advantage of them must of necessity become 
the pathfinders in the solution of the new problem which con- 
fronted the advancing frontier. A direct line of water com- 
munication with the East, therefore, confronted the best New 
England stock, and the substantial men of the Middle States 
with the question of the occupancy of the prairie. In short, 
northern 1 Illinois did not go through the ordinary evolution 
which marks the growth of settlement in the wooded sections 
of the West, for the permanent occupants of the soil were the 
first occupants. 

At the opening of the period, 1831-1850, the great prairies 

[253] 



540 BULLETIN OP THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

which extended over central, eastern and northern Illinois, 
were scarcely marked by improvements save on the southern 
and western bounds, and then only to a very limited degree. 
The hunter-pioneer had shunned them, firmly believing that ow- 
ing to many disadvantages they never would be settled. 1 This 
belief is only a repetition of the prophecy of Monroe, made half 
a century before, when he said, "the districts . . . will 
never contain a sufficient number of inhabitants to entitle them 
to membership in the confederacy." 2 

Inviting as were the prairies in appearance, there was a sense 
of vastness connected with them which seemed to overpower the 
observer, leaving on him an impression of greatness which could 
not be subdued. They offered a new problem for the pioneer 
to solve and of necessity he was compelled to approach it cau- 
tiously at first. 

Thus far the settler in Illinois had by dint of hard work 
cleared small tracts of land on the borders of the rivers, erected 
his cabin and planted a crop of grain, trusting that from small 
beginnings he would, in time, be able to widen the limits of 
his clearing to more respectable dimensions. Wood and water 
he had in abundance and Where these were lacking he thought 
was no fit habitation for man. Moreover, the timber always 
proved a welcome protection from the icy winds of winter and 
the myriads of flies in the summer. 3 

Timber was scarce on the prairies and what little there was, 
was grouped along the river courses leaving vast stretches of 
country without shade. Here and there stood a bunch of 
scrubby oaks, sometimes interspersed with rough and stunted 
pine and black walnut, hazel brush and long tough grass. From 
appearances the settlers reasoned that the sterility of the soil 
was responsible for such lack of development in the timber and 
the name "barrens" was given to such lands. 

The water supply, too, was a most serious objection to any 
attempt to cultivate the prairies. In some places the land was 
low and swampy and required draining. Fever and ague at- 



1 Personal Recollection^ of John M. Palmer, 12. 

3 Monroe, Writings, 1, 117. 

8 Henderson, Hi]story of the Sangamon Country, 174. 



[254] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 541 

tacked the settlers in these parts of the prairie and proved a 
great drawback to settlement. 4 In other places running water 
was exceedingly scarce — so scarce that it would necessitate dig- 
ging wells should the settler desire to keep any stock. 5 

Necessity, however, caused expansion and practically forced 
the first stream of settlers out upon the prairies. The earli- 
est arrivals had very naturally taken up their abode on the edge 
of the timber, appropriating a certain amount of it for use in 
building cabins, out-houses and fences. The later comers could 
do but one of two things, either move farther west where all the 
timber was not taken, or move on to the prairie, going no far- 
ther than circumstances compelled them. 

The prairies improved upon acquaintance and gradually the 
more venturesome cut loose from the woodlands and selected 
the higher portions of the prairie but in doing so they were care- 
ful to remain as near as possible to a road. The fertility of the 
soil abundantly repaid any additional labor necessary for the 
hauling of fuel, rails or house timber. In some cases, fuel was 
furnished by nature, for where timber failed, coal was often 
found 6 and could be mined at a small cost. 7 

Still, timber land was so highly prized by the settlers that it 
would bring more money than a cultivated farm of prairie land. 
The lack of timber was soon partially overcome, however, for 
the settlers early began to experiment with young timber and 
it did not take long to find out that within a comparatively 
short time quite large trees could be grown from seed. 8 

Reports of a climate severe in winter and productive of 
epidemics in summer made many question the advisability of 
emigrating thither. Although the climate of northern Illinois 
seemed to be about the same as that in New England, on the 
average, it was also subject to greater changes. 9 The snow 



* Lewis, Impressions, 277. 

5 New York Weekly Tribune, Aug. 30, 1848. 

8 Harding, Tours Through the Western Country, 8. 

r New York Weekly Tribune, Sept. 15, 1845, says the cost of coal was but 
three cents per bushel. It also gives the price of land as follows : unimproved 
prairie land, one and one-fourth to eight dollars per acre; improved prairie land, 
seven to twenty dollars per acre; and improved timber land, eight to twenty 
dollars per acre. 

8 Jones, Illinois and the West, 35. 

9 New York Weekly Tribune, Aug. 30, 1848. 

[255] 



542 BULLETIN" OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

did not fall in such quantities as in New England but the cold 
was more intense and the winds which swept the prairies were 
harder to bear in these exposed districts. Domestic animals 
sometimes fell victims to the hard prairie winters 10 and occa- 
sionally some unfortunate person froze to death. 11 It appears, 
however, that such winters were exceptional and when one hap- 
pened to be colder than usual it was recorded. The winter of 
1830-31 was one long remembered in Illinois. Snow fell al- 
most continuously from November until January, measuring in 
-some places twelve feet in depth. 12 It was taken by many of 
the old pioneers as a convenient event from which to reckon 
time, showing that such severity of the climate was not by any 
means a common thing. 

All through the period during which emigration came in large 
numbers to Illinois, a constant discussion was kept up as to 
whether or not the climate was favorable to the health of the 
settlers. So important was the question and so much effect did 
the discussion have upon travelers, newspaper men and writers 
of emigrant guide books, that in many places comments are made 
upon the general condition of health in the newly settled dis- 
tricts. 

An examination of the statements made by both sides reveal 
the fact that there was a considerable amount of sickness in the 
new settlements and the older ones which were located along the 
river valleys. One account says that in 1840 "at Oregon City 
more than seven-eights of the inhabitants were sick at one time ; 
at Daysville and at Watertown in a population of ninety or 
one hundred inhabitants not more than six or eight escaped; 
-and on the Illinois and Mississippi rivers hundreds were sick 
and many more died in proportion to the number of inhabi- 
tants than on Rock River. ' ' 13 This is later modified by another 
writer who, while he admits that in the early days on Rock River 
there was much sickness, says that, ' ' Since that time the mortal- 
ity of northern Illinois has ranged on a per cent, that would 
contrast favorably with what are generally deemed the most 



10 Illinois Monthly Magazine, 2, 100. 
11 A Winter in the West, 1, 202. 
12 History of Greene County, 286. 
a8 The New Yorker, May 30, 1840. 

[256] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 543 

salubrious sections of the Union — the New England States." 14 

It was generally conceded that those people who settled on the 
higher portions of the prairies escaped the fevers and the ague 
which infested the regions around the rivers and in the low 
prairies. Exposure to hardships, lack of a comfortable habita- 
tion, unwise selections of places for the building of houses, the 
-change of food 15 and overwork 16 caused as much sickness as did 
unhealthful locations. In spite of adverse tales from the prairie 
land and in spite of the distance from the eastern states and the 
inconveniences and slowness of travel a continuous stream of set- 
tlers spread over the prairies and began to build homes and to 
till the land. 

As was the case in southern Illinois, the first habitations of 
the settlers were log cabins built close to the edge of the timber 
for protection from the wind and that fuel and timber for 
outbuildings and fences might be easily obtained. Generally 
these cabins had but a single room, but occasionally two or even 
three. Boards, shingles and puncheons were all made by the 
settlers and, while rough, they answered the purpose very well. 
Windows were few, most of the light coming in through the door 
and chimney. 

In early days lack of furniture and agricultural implements 
was the rule, not the exception. One man came to begin life 
in the new country with no other equipment than "a rifle gun 
and fifty cents worth of powder and lead, a little scant bedding 
and a skillet and piggin. " Another had but a "straw tick, a 
broken skillet, a bucket, a rifle-gun, a butcher knife and a steel- 
yards." 17 The prairie man needed more goods and since he 
generally came by way of the lakes he could bring such furni- 
ture and implements of agriculture as he needed. 

Although log cabins were the first abodes of the prairie men 
they were not satisfactory, neither did they last long, for as the 
pioneers moved farther and farther from the timber the labor 
of hauling logs grew greater, and other expedients seemed neces- 
sary. Houses of a very comfortable kind could be built of clay 



14 New York Weekly Tribune, Sept. 15, 1845. 

15 Illinois Monthly Magazine, 2, 51. 
18 Albany Cultivator, 8, 53. 

1T History of Johnson County (Ind.), 330. 

17 [257] 



544 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

and roofed with lumber at no very great expense, provided the 
place was not too far removed from Chicago. 18 In 1841 ordinary 
lumber which cost from eight to thirteen dollars a thousand 
in Chicago sold for fifty-five dollars a thousand in McDonough 
county in the Military Tract. 19 

Transportation was the great expense and had to be over- 
come, for the Yankee was not satisfied with mud cabins. He had 
not lived in such dwellings in New England and therefore he 
made strenuous efforts to increase his comforts. Lumber, 
transported by way of the Great Lakes and hauled overland 
from Chicago was too expensive, but lumber was necessary and 
as a consequence saw mills were among the first improvements 
in the new country. With the advent of this industry the 
change from log or mud cabins to more comfortable frame houses 
was by no means slow. Small, at first, the houses of the settlers 
grew as necessity required and wealth permitted. 

After preparing a habitation, be it a mud cabin or a lumber 
shanty, the next thing which the settler had to do was to pre- 
pare some land upon which to raise a crop and here, too, was 
a problem as difficult to solve as the erection of a dwelling. 
True, there were no trees to clear away but there was a sod to 
break which was so tough that it would yield to the plow but 
slowly. Should the settler hire some one to do the breaking for 
him the expense would be greater than the cost of the land 
itself. 20 If he did it himself the process was slow and laborious. 
Operations were begun during the last days of April and finished 
by the first of July, 21 for the sod when turned over must have 
time to rot or it would remain heavy and unproductive for two 
or three years. At the first plowing it was customary to drop 
corn In every second or third furrow, from which twenty or 
thirty bushels to the acre were often gathered. 22 

Ox teams to the number of three, four, five or even six yokes 
were used, hitched to a pair of cart wheels and these to a plow 



18 American Agriculturist, (1843), 15. 

19 Chicago Weekly American, Sept. 21, 1841. 

20 Marshall, Farmers' and Emigrants' Handbook, 403. Land cost one and one- 
quarter dollars per acre; breaking cost one and one-half dollars per acre. 

21 The Cultivator and Farmer (Albany), 1, 80. 

22 American Agriculturist (1843), S, 15. 

[258] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 545 

with a beam fourteen feet long and a share which weighed any- 
where from sixty to one hundred and twenty-five pounds. 23 
The furrow cut measured from sixteen 24 to thirty 25 inches in 
width, and from two to six in depth. 26 Deep plowing was not 
as satisfactory as the more shallow plowing, for in the latter 
case the roots of the grass would rot more quickly. 27 In some 
cases, in order to hasten decomposition of the matted tangle of 
roots, the land was cross-ploughed, but generally this was not 
deemed necessary. 

Estimates as to the amount of land which one of these large 
"breaking teams" could plow in a day varies from one acre 28 
to two and one-fourth acres. 29 "When a team of horses was 
used and a smaller plow, an acre was considered an average 
day's work. 30 Between eighty and one hundred acres could be 
plowed in a season. 31 Generally, two or three seasons were 
necessary to decompose the sod thoroughly and render the soil 
light and loose enough to be turned readily by ordinary plows. 

When the prairie man had broken his land, generally about 
twenty-five acres, the first year, and had planted his crop of 
corn, another problem presented itself. Fences were necessary 
to protect the growing fields from the devastations of live stock. 
When the farmer had access to timber the problem did not pre- 
sent a difficult aspect, for a rail fence could be made with a 
reasonable amount of labor, but when he was on the open prairie, 
some twenty miles from timber, another solution had to be 
found. Some firmly believed that any money spent on fencing 
the prairies was money thrown away; 32 but others persisted in 
experimenting. Sod, picket, hedge, board and lastly wire were 
tried. 33 All kinds were expensive, 34 however, with the exception 



23 American Agriculturist (1843), 1, 15. 

^Ibid., 1, 15. 

25 Madison Express, Dec. 1, 1841. 

28 Albany Cultivator, 8, 80, or Cultivator and Farmer, 1, 80. 

27 Ibid. 

28 American Agriculturist (1843), 1, 15. 
28 Prairie Farmer, (1847), 7, 140. 

30 Albany Cultivator, (1840), 7, 80. 

31 Prairie Farmer, (1847), 7, 140. 

32 American Agriculturist (1843), 1, 370. 
83 Prairie Farmer, 6, passim. 

34 Rail fence cost over one hundred and forty dollars a mile ; wire fence, one 
hundred and fifty-six and one-half dollars a mile ; board fence, one hundred and 
eighty-two dollars a mile. Prairie Farmer, 8, 302. 

[259] 



546 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

of the hedge fence, and this was objectionable, owing to the 
amount of grass and weeds growing up around it, and furnish- 
ing food for the prairie fires. 35 

Prof. J. B. Turner of Illinois College experimented for some 
time with various shrubs, hoping to find some one which would 
solve the problem of fence for the prairie. After several fail- 
ures he found the osage orange would answer the purpose very 
well. 36 Ditching, embanking and surmounting the embank- 
ment by a three rail fence was also found to be satisfactory, and 
was used to some extent, 37 but it, like other fences tried, showed 
a woeful lack of ability to keep the farmer's hogs out of his 
corn. 

Only when wire was at last manufactured in large quantities 
at a comparatively low price was the fence problem on the 
prairie solved. Up to that time the prairie farmer was accus- 
tomed to fence larger tracts of ground for cultivation and omit 
partition fences, leaving all his fields in one. It was advised 
that this method should be followed among neighbors, allowing 
them the protection of large enclosing fences and relieving each 
of the expense of division fences. 38 Often, instead of fencing 
the cultivated portions of the farm, the order was reversed and 
the stock was enclosed in pastures, leaving the fields open. 39 

Gophers and prairie chickens added materially to the troubles 
of the prairie farmers, for they dug and scratched out newly 
planted grain. 40 Sometimes the ravages of these offenders 
necessitated the planting of a field as often as three times in a 
season, and then the farmers would sometimes get only half a 
crop. Men, boys, dogs and all available combatants were en- 
listed against the pests and regularly organized gopher hunts 
were sometimes indulged in. 41 A more dangerous antagonist 
was found in the prairie wolf. This animal had a great capacity 
for stealing young pigs, robbing hen-houses and committing other 
depredations. To clear the country of them, hunts were also 



33 Marshall, Farmers' and Emigrants' Handbook, 97. 

39 Willard, Early Education in Illinois, 115. 
"Marshall, Farmers' and Emigrants' Handbook, 97. 
33 American Agriculturist, (1843), 1, 15. 

89 Reynolds, Sketches, 102. 

40 The New Yorker, May 22, 1841. 

41 Weekly Chicago Democrat, May 26, 1848. 

[260] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 547 

organized 42 and the days upon which they took place were 
holidays. 

Wheat and corn were the staple products of the prairie, but 
oats, potatoes, turnips and buckwheat were also cultivated with 
success. Fruit, however, did not bring good returns to the 
farmer. Prices were far from encouraging, 43 the fact being 
probably due to the lack of a market. Since supplies could be 
obtained at very reasonable rates at the lake ports, and since 
prices paid for farm produce were higher in the lake cities, 44 
Chicago was the natural center for Illinois produce. Although 
Chicago was a great deal over a hundred miles from the central 
Illinois counties, the farmers came in numbers from this part 
of the state, as well as from the north to sell their grain at this 
place and to take their supplies from it. The market was so 
far, that sometimes the farmers could go but once a year; some- 
times they went more than once. In some cases a number of 
neighbors would club together, load one or two wagons, hitch 
two or three yoke of oxen to each wagon and so haul their prod- 
uce. 45 It was not an uncommon sight in the autumn after 
the harvests were gathered to see in one day two hundred 
wagons, all loaded with farm produce, 46 rattling their way along 
the old State Road from Galena to Chicago. 

In the early forties high rates for transportation along the 
Erie canal did much to keep western farmers from shipping their 
produce to New York; but a considerable amount, however, 
found its way thither. 47 While this operated against the west- 
ern farmer and tended to depress his market, another influence 
from the East tended to make the lake route the natural high- 
way for western produce to the East. England in the forties 
levied a discriminating tariff upon foreign wheat, flour, beef, 
pork and lard. Canadian flour was admitted into English 



42 History of Coles County, 464. 

43 History of Coles County, 460; Lothrop, Champaign County Directory, 125. 
Prices were as follows : Wheat twenty-five to thirty-seven and one-half cents 
per bushel, in the best years sixty cents ; oats eight to nineteen' cents ; corn 
ten to twenty-five cents ; hogs twenty-five cents to one and one-half dollars per 
hundred weight; a cow and a calf eight dollars and a good horse forty dollars. 

44 Madison (Wis.) Enquirer, Aug. 11, 1841. 

« Anderson, First Chapter of Norwegian Immigration, 228. 
46 Past and Present of Kane County, 460. 
"Albany Cultivator, (1842), 150. 

[361] 



548 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

ports at one dollar less per barrel than flour from other coun- 
tries. Similar favors were shown in other produce. It did 
not take the Yankee or New Yorker of northern Illinois long 
to see that he could ship his wheat to Canada, have it made into 
flour there and take advantage of the discriminating duty in 
that manner. 48 This tended to center the wheat industry at 
Chicago and the growth of this industry is noticeable during 
these years. 

In spite of low prices, however, agriculture flourished and 
offered better returns to the western farmer than to the eastern 
man. Less labor by one-half was needed, less capital was in- 
vested; the average yield per acre was more in the West than 
in the East and the cost of lake transportation was low enough 
to allow the western man to compete successfully in the eastern 
market. 49 The great problem before the farmer was how to 
reach one of these lake ports to dispose of his produce as well 
as to receive lumber and other necessaries. The outgrowth of 
these desires was the internal improvement system of the 
thirties. 

The Illinois-Michigan canal was of primary importance in 
the Illinois internal improvement system. Joliet was perhaps 
the first to notice the possibility of connecting the Illinois river 
and Lake Michigan by a canal. 50 Governor Bond at the first 
meeting of the Illinois legislature in 1818 brought up the sub- 
ject of the canal; his successor, Governor Coles, devoted some 
space to it in his message of 1822. A board of commissioners 
was appointed in 1828 and two years later an act to incorporate 
the canal with a capital of $1,000,000 was passed; but failure 
to have the stock subscribed caused the plan to fall through for 
the time. In 1827, Congress granted to the state of Illinois 
every alternate section in a belt of country extending six miles 
on either side of the canal, and in 1829 a canal board was or- 
ganized. 51 In 1835 the first loan was made and work began 
in 1836, continuing until March, 1843, during which time the 



48 Executive Documents, 190, 2S Cong., 1 Sess. 
* 9 New York Weekly Tribune, Sept. 15, 1845. 
50 Hulburt, Antiquities of Chicago, 147. 
61 Be Bow's Review, 17, 266. 



[262] 






POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 549 

state expended $4,679,494 on the project. 52 In September, 1845, 
the work was resumed and by 1848 was completed. 53 

Other improvements besides the canal were planned ; $100,000 
was to be expended for the improvement of the Great Wabash, 
a like sum on the Illinois and also on the Rock river; the Kas- 
kaskia and Little Wabash were to get $50,000 each for improve- 
ments; the Great Western mail route from Vincennes to St. 
Louis, $250,000; the Central railroad from Cairo to Galena; 
the Southern Crossroad from Alton to Mt. Carmel; the North- 
ern Crossroad from Quincy to the Indiana state line, and other 
minor roads were to be built. 54 

The immensity of the system can best be grasped by noticing 
statistics. A census taken in 1835 records the population of 
the state as 271,700 ; 55 in 1900 it was 4,821,550. 56 The debt 
authorized for these improvements in the first instance was 
$10,230,000, but the estimate was found to be too low by half 
and the state was committed to a liability of $20,000,000 or at 
the same ratio today the debt would amount to some $350,000,- 
000, a debt which the state would not care to assume. 

So intent were the people in providing markets, in furnishing 
suitable transportation facilities and thereby opening up the 
resources of their state, that they did not count the cost, seeing 
only results. The immediate results were not what had been 
anticipated and with the breaking of the bubble of speculation 
and the collapse of the system as planned in Illinois, the finances 
of the state were almost ruined, simply because it had not the 
strength to solve the transportation problem. 57 

The livestock industry developed rapidly on the prairies. 
Abundant pastures were within the reach of all, and the farmer 
naturally developed the grazing industry. As early as 1818, 
some Illinois farmers had made it a business to raise cattle for 
the Baltimore and Philadelphia markets, 58 and the industry had 



Ba Moses, Illinois, 1, 465. 
63 Davidson and Stuve, Illinois, 485-6. 
M Davidson and StuvS, Illinois, 436. 
™Ibid., 438. 

66 Twelfth Census, (1900), Population, 1, 16. 

67 Scott, Repudiation of State Debts, 199-217. 

53 Warden, Statistical, Political and Historical Account of the United States, 3, 
62. 

[263] 



550 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN" 

grown steadily. Before 1850 thousands of cattle were raised 
on the prairies of Illinois, Missouri and Iowa each year and 
sold to drovers who took them to Ohio to fatten for the eastern 
markets. 59 

In spite of the fact that sheep could not be kept upon the 
prairies without considerable attention, especially during the 
winter months, the industry rapidly gained favor among the 
farmers. Heavy losses were at first experienced, due chiefly to 
mismanagement, for the animals usually purchased in western 
New York or Philadelphia were driven the entire distance dur- 
ing the hot summer months or the colder ones of autumn to a 
new home where scarcely any provision had been made for their 
shelter. 60 As a consequence many died. 

Gaining knowledge by experience, the various branches of 
industry were soon put upon an excellent paying basis. Some 
found stock raising profitable, others adapted themselves to the 
cultivation of grain which at first was harvested and threshed 
by hand ; but before 1850 these primitive methods had given way 
to more improved ones. Drills were used in planting the seed; 
mowing machines Were used in cutting the hay and reapers for 
the grain ; threshing machines, too, were used before the period 
was over. 61 

The effect of machinery upon the amount of produce was 
marked. In 1850 Illinois was fifth among the states in the 
amount of wheat produced ; in 1860 it was first with an annual 
product of more than 23,800,000 bushels. 62 In 1840 Illinois 
Was seventh in the production of Indian corn; in 1850 it was 
third with an annual output of nearly 57,650,000 bushels 
and ten years later it led all the states, producing over 
115,000,000 bushels or nearly one-seventh of the entire amount 
produced. 63 Like increases appeared in other productions. 64 



59 The Prairie Farmer, 9, 305. 

60 American Agriculturist, 4, 247. 

61 Curtiss, Western Portraiture, 291. 

62 Eighth Census, (1860), Agriculture., 29, 
™-ilid., 46, 47, 

64 Bunt's Merchants' Magazine, 5, 436, gives statistics for 1840; Abstract of 
the Seventh Census, (1850), 89-90, gives statistics for 1850: 



[264] 



POOLE Y SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 551 

With the increased ability for handling large crops and with 
the possibility of increased land communication the farms tended 
to 'increase in size. Practically, the prairie man had done all 
he could in the way of subduing these vast stretches of land. 
The railroads were now necessary to solve the remaining prob- 
lems. Each successive wave of settlement helped to add cells to 
the comb already forming on the edge of the prairies; but the 
process of assimilation was slow save where a line of transpor- 
tation added its influence. 

Pioneer saw mills worked away steadily causing a transition 
from the log-cabin age to that of lumber houses, but the change 
was slow at first. Previous to the opening of the Illinois-Mich- 
igan canal, lumber sold at sixty dollars a thousand in Ottawa,- 
but the first load through the canal cut the price in two and 
successive loads reduced it still more. Freight rates the other 
way were high; at first the price for transporting wheat from 
Ottawa to Chicago was twelve and one-half cents per bushel. 
Later it dropped to eight and then to four cents per bushel, 63 a 
price which the farmers Were glad to pay to have their produce 
taken across the swampy country around Chicago. This was 
in only one locality, however, and the other parts of the state 
were sadly in need of transportation facilities to assist in their 
development. 

The life of the pioneer has characteristics which are the same 
no matter what his location may be. "While new difficulties 
were encountered by the prairie pioneer, and he himself, gen- 
erally speaking, was different from the pioneer of southern 
Illinois, there were characteristics which these two types of set- 
tlers held in common. 

The first settlers of the southern part of the state were often 



1840 1850 

Horses. and mules 200,741 278,226 

Cattle 612,000 012,000 

Hogs 1,446,000 1,916,000 

Sheep 487 , 000 894 , 000 

Bushels of wheat 3,263,500 9,414,600 

Bushels of oats 5,682,000 10,087,241 

Bushels of corn 22,524,000 57,647,000 

Lbs. of tobacco 475,250 841 , 394 

« Illustrated History of La Balle County, 1, 212. 

[265] 



552 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

of the wandering type and were constantly seeking new homes. 
These pioneers were followed by a second class of settlers who 
generally had some property and were able to pay cash for at 
least part of their lands, and to make additional improvements. 
Lastly, came the man of property whose idea was to cultivate 
the land in the best possible manner and become a permanent 
resident. 66 

The pioneers of the first class were poor, indeed, enjoying few 
of the comforts of life and too often were so lazy as to make no 
effort whatever to better their condition. They lived in rags 
and idleness, providing for their families by hunting and oc- 
casionally cultivating a small patch of corn and vegetables but 
doing no other work, leading, on the whole, a most shiftless life 
and seeking no advancement. Morality, too, was of a low 
standard especially among these people and the poorer European 
immigrants who settled in the South. 67 

The second and third classes were much advanced beyond 
the first. These people aimed to advance their material condi- 
tion and worked constantly to accomplish their object. 

Immigration to Northern Illinois after the opening of steam 
navigation on the Great Lakes reached such a volume that it 
seems impossible to make any such classification as has been 
made for Southern Illinois. There was no gradual procession 
of types but an influx of the agricultural type. So rapidly was 
the land filled up that a residence of three months in Chicago, 
for example, gave one the right to be recognized as an old 
settler. 68 

Travelers through this part of the state give conflicting ac- 
counts regarding the inhabitants and their homes. The general 
sentiment seemed to be that the settlers were of a class superior 
to the early pioneers of the southern counties. In many places 
' 'neat white houses, tasteful piazzas, neat enclosures and newly 
planted shrubberies" gave evidence of New Englanders or peo- 
ple from the Middle Atlantic states. 69 The people, as a rule, 
were contented with their homes and evinced no desire to emi- 



ee Wyse, America, Its Realities and Resources, 2, 349-352. 
w Christian Examiner, 87, 272. 
88 A Winter in the West, 1, 200. 
« Ibid., 2, 62. 

[266] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 553 

grate, 70 save a few who desired to go to the Oregon territory. 
Occasionally surprise is manifested at the character and intel- 
ligence of settlers. 71 

The frontier, however, seems always to have been also the 
home of a disreputable class of people, and northern Illinois 
was no exception to the rule. The more . quiet citizens were 
constantly terrified by gangs of horse thieves, robbers, mur- 
derers and counterfeiters. For years southern Illinois had been 
infested by such individuals and as the frontier moved north- 
ward across the state, these bands of desperadoes followed it. 72 
The islands of the Mississippi and the groves along its banks 
were homes for such bands. 73 

The heterogeneous character of settlement in the northwestern 
part of the state is described by a New York paper of the time. 
It says; "The settlers here are all descriptions of people; for- 
eigners, Canadians, Hoosiers, Buckeyes, Marylanders, Virgin- 
ians, Kentuckians, Yankees, etc., with a large share of cut- 
throats, blacklegs, murderers, counterfeiters, robbers, thieves and 
all manner of scamps that infest a newly-settled country; and 
what is still worse . . . when any" such rascals are caught, 
which is seldom, there is no such thing as putting the law in 
force or convicting them in anyway before they will be smuggled 
out of the reach of justice and get clear." 74 While the illus- 
stration may be exaggerated somewhat and intended to check 
the flow of population it also serves 1 to show that among the law- 
abiding settlers there were also many who were a decided detri- 
ment to the country. 

Such conditions did not exist everywhere. The frontier, it 
is said, brings out the worst as well as the best of men's char- 
acters and incidents may be cited to prove this. During the 
early mining days at Galena, men from the South and West 
congregated to work the mines, and these men as a class pos- 



70 Scott, Journal of a Missionary Tour (1843), 107. 

71 The New Yorker, Aug. 19, 1837. 

72 Barber, History of all the Western States and Territories, 248. 

73 The names of the Driskel brothers, Daggett, Bowman, and others for years 
were connected in the minds of the settlers with every outrage committed in 
the northwestern counties. Galena Gazette and Nortli ice stem Advertiser, 
July 6, 1841. 

74 The New Yorker, May 30, 1840. 



[267] 



554 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

sessed and practiced many of the noblest traits of manhood. 
''As an illustration of their innate integrity of character it is 
perhaps only necessary to state that locks and keys were un- 
known in the country and all places of abode were always left 
unfastened and open to the reception of all, who received a 
cordial welcome and a free invitation to partake of every hos- 
pitality the 'dug-out' or shanty afforded. Debts were con- 
tracted without reserve at the first interview With a new comer 
and he seldom ever failed to meet his promise of payment." 75 

Most noticeable of characteristics common alike to the pio- 
neers of the prairie and the woodland was that of boundless 
hospitality. The new settler was received kindly and given 
substantial aid by those who had been in the country longer ; his 
cabin was quickly built and often in addition to assistance thus 
received it was not improbable that the friendly neighbors 
would furnish the new settler with some live stock if he had 
none. 76 One would give poultry; another, a hog; a third, a 
calf and so on until there would be quite a drove of stock upon 
the clearing. No matter how poor the new settler might be, if 
he did not show a prospensity to dispute over trifles' or to com- 
plain of the disadvantages of the new country, and criticise the 
manners and habits of the people, and cite the superiority of 
things in the place from whence he came, he would be received 
with blunt frankness and unaffected hospitality. His reception 
was just as much of the opposite character should he presume 
to cast reflections upon conditions existing in his new home. 

To the wayfarer, likewise, the western' man extended his 
simple but hearty hospitality. Every stranger was made wel- 
come to all the primitive home afforded. There was always a 
place at the table and always room for another lodger, no mat- 
ter how many already occupied places in the home. This hos- 
pitality was extended in a manner peculiar to the frontiersman. 
He gave it in a simple, unassuming way and wished no remarks 
even if complimentary, and above all things he wished no cita- 
tion of unpleasant things encountered before, or any mention of 
entertainment received elsewhere which was not so good. Such 



75 Parkinson, Pioneer Life in Wisconsin, in the Wis. Hist. Collections, 2, 332'. 

76 Holmes, Account of the United States, 133. 

[268] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 555 

remarks were considered as reflections upon the people of the 
ecuntry and from them it was inferred that like remarks would 
be made again and perhaps in connection with the entertainment 
then enjoyed. 

The country and the surroundings of the pioneer seemed to 
change him in a few years. Even the quiet, conservative men 
from the East became rough, independent and simple in habits, 
-careless of dress, frank in speech, friendly and generous to all 
whom they could trust. Seldom, if ever, did the prairie man 
fail to make a favorable impression upon those he chanced to 
meet. When he had reached a period of comparative prosperity 
nothing was too good for him. He lived in the midst of plenty. 
His cattle, horses and acres he numbered by the hundreds; his 
fields of grain and corn were wide in extent and he enjoyed his 
prosperity continuously which seemed only to improve his good- 
will, for nowhere could be found men who would obey the calls 
of friendship or answer the claims of benevolence with more 
cheerful promptness or with greater sacrifices to personal con- 
venience. 77 

The daily life of the pioneer was a varied one. Besides cul- 
tivating his farm, repairing his buildings and agricultural im- 
plements he found time to hunt, to assist his neighbors and 
sometimes to make attempts to educate himself. 78 Besides the 
smaller affairs these pioneers provided for local government, 
for churches, for schools, for higher education and for the rail- 
ways and telegraph systems. 

Naturally enjoying society, primitive as it might be, these 
early settlers met often at races, shooting-matches, house-rais- 
ings, log-rollings, weddings, funerals, elections and on court 
•days. 79 Political and religious questions were freely and some- 
times violently discussed, at all such meetings and often with 



77 HaM, Sketches, 2, 70. 

78 Mr. Conant records that on one day he "read the Latin Grammar'' ; on 
another he "made a coffin for Mrs. Dougherty and help-id to bury her" ; on 
another he "planted corn and prepared for the wedding" ; on another he "married 
Betsy Kelsey" ; on others he " made a table and borrowed six bnsheis of pota- 
toes", "read a sermon" ; "made a wagon" and on one day being unwell he "studied 
■algebra" and "wrote a temperance address". Life of A. H. Conant, 43. 

79 Western Monthly Magazine, 1, 52. Haines, Social Life and Scenes in the 
Early Settlement of Central Illinois in Transactions of the Illinois State Histori- 
cal Society, (1905.) 

[269] 



556 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

keenness and ability. News of the outside world Was passed 
from neighbor to neighbor, for newspapers were scarce in the 
early days. Books were few. Horse-racing, jumping, wrestling, 
hunting and dancing were the amusements enjoyed. Card 
playing was not tolerated by respectable people and a fiddle 
was, to the church people, only the devil painted red. 80 

Active measures were taken by the legislature of Illinois to 
stop gambling. A law was passed in the early thirties by which 
a fine of twenty-five dollars was to be levied on any person 
bringing into the state or selling a pack of playing cards or a 
set of billard balls "or any other device or anything invented 
or made for the purpose of being used in games of hazard. ' ' A 
like fine was to be imposed upon a purchaser of the condemned 
articles, or anyone indulging in games of dice, billards or cards 
"for money or property" and a fine of one hundred dollars 
upon ' ' any tavern keeper or owner of a grocery or tipling shop ' ' 
who should allow any form of gambling in his place of busi- 
ness. 81 The pioneer had a standard of morality of his own 
and thought nothing of the free use of intoxicants. At every 
gathering the whiskey jug seemed indispensable, occasioning 
at times disturbances which, from a present day view-point, 
could never be overlooked. 

Education 82 did not thrive well among the early settlers of 
southern Illinois. The poverty of the settlers, the hardships of 
frontier life, the long Indian wars, the slight returns which the 
lands yielded for school purposes were all so many hindrances. 
Save a few settlers who came from New England in the early 
days, the mass of pioneers was composed of people from Ken- 
tucky and Tennessee with others from Virginia and Pennsyl- 
vania. In these states the common school system had not been 



s0 Chicago Inter-Ocean, Dec. 14, 1904. 

81 Extract from statute. (Sangamon Journal, May 7, 1836.) 

82 For a discussion of education in the Northwest and especially Illinois, see : 
McMaster, History of the People of the United States, 5, 370 ; S. Willard, 
Brief History of Early Education in Illinois in Report of Sup't of Public Instruc- 
tion of Illinois (1884) ; W. Lr. Pillsbury, Early Education in Illinois:, in ibid., 
(1886) ; Rev. A. D. Mayo, Education in the Northwest during the first half Cen- 
tury of the Republic, 1190-181$ in Report of the Commissioner of Education, 1895- 
96 {House Documents, 54 Cong., 1 Sess., No. 5.) ; Rev. A. D. Mayo, The Develop- 
ment of the Common School in the Western States 18S0-1865 in Report of the 
Commissioner of Education, 1898-99, 1, 357-450. 

[270] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 557 

developed and naturally little attention was paid to the develop- 
ment of such a system in early Illinois. 

By an act of 1825, voters in any county might create districts, 
establish schools for white children between the age of five and 
twenty and maintain them by a tax of one-half mill on each 
dollar of taxable property. The law was not compulsory and 
unless a majority of the voters favored a school, none would 
exist. The people vigorously resisted the law and the legis- 
lature in 1829 repealed as much of it as provided for state aid 
and declared that no man should be taxed for the maintenance 
of schools unless he first gave his consent in writing. 

Education was not wholly neglected, however. Here and 
there in the pioneer communities, teachers such as they were 
gathered the children of the neighborhood together in some 
kitchen or abandoned log cabin and gave them instruction for 
scanty pay. By 1840 Baptists, Methodists, Congregationalists, 
Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Catholics all had seminaries 
of higher education located in the state. 

With the influx of New Englanders and New Yorkers to 
northern Illinois, changes for the better took place. These 
pioneers believed thoroughly in the value of schools and wher- 
ever two or three families settled together, there it was certain 
a school was soon to be started. The Ladies' Association for 
the Education of Girls; the Illinois Institute of Education and 
the State Association of Educators with other similar organi- 
zations fought to bring about the system of common schools 
which was finally organized in 1854. The effect of the agita- 
tion is seen in the results of the decade 1841 to 1850. In 1850 
there were 2,640 public schools in Illinois and 132,000 pupils in 
attendance — the number of schools having doubled in the ten 
years and the attendance increased four-fold. 

In a general way the development of churches Was the same. 
While meetings were held with regularity among the pioneers 
of southern Illinois it was not until the advent of the northern 
stream of immigrants that we find churches erected for every 
community of any size. The circuit riders were to remain for 
years until the pioneer communities were wealthy enough to 
maintain a pastor in each one. 

[271] 



558 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

It appears that previous to 1850 the agricultural pioneer had 
only made beginnings. His knowledge of the prairies was lim- 
ited; he could see the problems confronting him and did his 
best to cope with them using such means as he had. The prob- 
lems of transportation and markets were the serious obstacles 
to be overcome. Rivers formed one solution to these problems 
but where they failed it was necessary to construct roads. An 
examination of the location of the most important roads of the 
decade 1841-1850 shows well the needs of the farmer. From 
eastern, central, western and northern Illinois, roads centered 
at Chicago. Here was the supply depot of the prairies; here 
was the great shipping point, for lake transportation was cheaper 
than that on the rivers. Chicago was the connecting link 
between the land and the lake transportation as is shown in 
later days when so many of the great railway systems which tap 
the agricultural districts of the West center at Chicago. 

The great unoccupied stretches of land between the timbered 
tracts Were to be left for the settlers of the next decade to claim. 
When an increased use of improved farm machinery allowed the 
settlers to handle larger tracts of land with success and when 
the railroads penetrated the prairies and placed markets within 
ihe reach of the farmers, then the almost insurmountable ob- 
stacles presented by the great tracts of treeless land were over- 
come. 



[272] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 559 



CHAPTER XV 



Conclusion— A Resume 



The population map of 1830 shows that in no part of Illinois 
were there more than eighteen inhabitants to the square mile 
and that about two-thirds of the state was either entirely unoc- 
cupied or had less than seven inhabitants to the square mile. 
The most thickly settled parts of the state were along the Wa- 
bash, Ohio and Mississippi rivers. In the interior considerable 
settlement had been made along the Illinois and Sangamon 
rivers. 1 

By 1840 it appears that further encroachment had been made 
upon the great prairies, for all of the state, with the exception 
of a small part on the eastern side was credited with at least 
two inhabitants to the square mile. At this date the Military 
Tract is shown as settled and the outskirts of settlement along 
the Illinois river extended to Chicago instead of Peoria as desig- 
nated a decade before. Population was densest on the west- 
ern side of the state in a belt extending from Quincy to Jack- 
sonville and thence south into Madison and St. Clair counties. 
The least number of settlers was on the northern and eastern 
prairies. 2 

In 1850 those parts of the state bordering the Wabash, Ohio 
and Mississippi rivers were all credited with not less than 
eighteen inhabitants to the square mile. The strip of territory 
along the Illinois river was equally well settled as were those 
counties in the extreme north. 

The prairies of eastern Illinois and of the Military Tract are 



1 Twelfth Census, (1900), Statistical Atlas, plate 
z Ibid., plate 7. 

18 [273] 



560 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 




1 1 | 1 ] | I Six or more per square mile in 1840. 

f j Six or more per square mile : added during decade 1841-50. 

[ \ Less than six per square mile in 1850. 

Distribution of Population by Counties 
[274] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 561 




Eighteen or more per square mile. 



DlSTBEBUTION OF POPULATION BY COUNTIES (1850) 

[275] 



562 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVEBSITY OF WISCONSIN 

clearly marked by the sparseness of settlement. No part of the 
state had more than forty-five settlers to the square mile. 3 

These maps give a general idea of the location of population, 
but in detail they are not accurate. Settlements in 1830 were 
entirely within the timbered tracts; by 1840 the frontier had 
moved farther to the north, but still the settlers clung to the 
timber. Not until after 1850 was the settlement of the open 
prairies to be really accomplished. 

During the years 1831 and 1832 the beginnings of settlement 
were made in northern and eastern Illinois. At the first alarm 
of the Black Hawk War the settlers, save in a few instances 
where communities seemed strong enough to maintain themselves 
against an Indian attack, fled back to the more thickly populated 
portions of the state and for the time the spread of settlement 
ceased along the northern Illinois frontier. These settlements 
had been planted by pioneers of the hunter type and when the 
flight southward came it appears that the hunter-pioneers lost 
their opportunity for settling the woodlands along the rivers 
of northern Illinois. 

Several causes operated to make this retreat before the In- 
dians a permanent one. The trip through the northern portion 
of the state in pursuit of the fleeing Indian chief disclosed for 
the first time its wonderful resources as an agricultural district. 
Here we see the greatest effect of the war of 1832 and one over- 
powering the temporary compression of settlement during that 
year. 

From 1833 until 1837 or 1838 Illinois had a wonderful growth. 
The last of the Indian land titles within the limits of the state 
were extinguished, and the Indians themselves were either in- 
duced or compelled to vacate their claims in Illinois and to cross 
the Mississippi, thus removing the last cause for Indian scares 
and reassuring the immigrants from the East that their families 
and homes would be safe on the Illinois frontier. Land sales 
were constantly taking place at the various offices of the state 
and the immense internal improvement system already planned 
and soon to be begun, lead the people not only of Illinois but 



Ibid., plate 8. 

[276] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 563 

of the eastern states, to believe that here were to be presented 
numerous opportunities for rapid acquisition of wealth. 

So far in the history of the westward movement the difficul- 
ties of travel had been many and severe. The trips made across 
the western country in wagons were tiresome indeed and the 
easier journeys down the Ohio had been attended with difficul- 
ties and dangers not to be overlooked, while a journey to the 
"West by Way of the Great Lakes was not to be thought of, 
since a vessel in the upper lakes was as yet a curiosity. The 
year 1834 saw the solution of this problem of transportation, at 
least to a great degree, for the advent of the steamer upon the 
lakes gave to the immigrant the means of comparatively safe 
and easy passage to the West and moreover, allowed him to 
carry more household goods, farming implements and domestic 
animals with which to begin life in the new country. 

•There has always been among Americans a disposition to 
immigrate to the West in order to benefit themselves in the at- 
tempt to acquire wealth. During the thirties this desire was 
greatly increased in the East. The national debt had been paid 
and had been divided among the various states; trade had 
reached a high development and there was a feeling among the 
people that money was abundant, that every one was well-to-do 
and that investments, in land especially, could not help but 
result in the rapid accumulation of wealth. The farmers of 
New England, especially the generation of young men who could 
see no future for themselves in their native states, began to look 
to the great West for a livelihood. The development of the 
wool industry tended also to consolidate the small farms into 
large ones, and those farmers seeing an opportunity to dispose 
of their small holdings at good prices did so with the intention 
of moving to a new country. In the middle states frequent re- 
ports came, telling of the wonderful opportunities in the west- 
ern country. Pamphlets advertising Illinois lands flooded the 
states from Ohio to the sea-board. Since the subdivision of 
farms had, in the Middle Atlantic states, reached such a degree 
that the small patches of ground would no longer comfortably 
support families, and since renters began to see that in the 
space of a few years they could own farms in the West by the 

[277] 



564 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN" 

investment of no more capital than they paid from year to year 
for rent, many were more than willing to try the experiment of 
western life. 

All things seemed favorable for a period of speculative mania ; 
money seemed plentiful, western lands offered excellent oppor- 
tunities for the rapid accumulation of wealth, a generation of 
young men was ready to begin life for itself and lastly, the 
problem of transportation had, to a great extent, been solved. 
The result was a natural one; the period of speculation mater- 
ialized and there came to the western country an unequalled 
flood of immigration. 

Gradually the stream increased in size and by 1835 the specu- 
lation in Illinois lands was fairly under way. The stages, 
steamboats, hotels, taverns and places of general resort were 
thronged with land sellers and land buyers and in advance of 
the thickest of the throng like an army of locusts seeking to 
devour the broad acres of the National domain, 4 was the crowd 
of land speculators. Five million dollars worth of lands 
was entered during 1836. 5 Even business men of sober, 
careful judgment, farmers and mechanics formerly wary 
and conservative, added their stimulus to the ever-increas- 
ing scramble for land and invested to the utmost limit which 
their credit would allow. Individuals who had reached 
their limit of credit, joined themselves together into companies 
and with the aid of the banks continued their financial gym- 
nastics. 

It is estimated that during the years 1835, 1836 and 1837 
more than five hundred new towns were laid out in Illinois, 6 
each company believing that its town was, in the near future, 
to become a metropolis, the center of a thriving, populous, 
wealthy community. During the year 1836 in Will county 
alone, nine towns 7 were laid out, and Will county was no ex- 
ception to the general rule prevailing in the state. The lots in 
these " paper towns" were advertised in eastern cities and many 



* Salisbury, The Speculative Craze of '36, in Buffalo Hist. Soc. Publications, 
(1906), 4, 324. 
B Davidson and Stuv6, Illinois, 434. 
8 History of McLean County, 487. 
7 Woodruff, Joliet and Will County, 33. 

[278] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 565 

which today are sites of some farmer's field brought fancy 
prices. 

It is not to be understood that, during all this period of 
wild speculation, Illinois received no benefit or did not increase 
in permanent population, or that no towns of this period were 
to become permanent ones. Some companies organized by New 
Englanders and New Yorkers were sound enough financially to 
withstand the shock of 1837 and to establish in Illinois, towns 
which were destined to weather the financial storm which swept 
over the state during the years immediately following. In Mc- 
Lean county the Hudson 8 and Mt. Hope 9 colonies; in Tazewell 
county the Tremont 10 and Delavan 11 colonies; in Henry county 
the Andover, 12 Wethersfield 13 and Geneseo 14 colonies; in Bureau 
county the Providence 15 colony and in Knox county the G-ales- 
burg 16 colony are all examples of the successful town building 
ventures of the time. 

These colonies seem to have been carefully planned and well 
financed. The land upon which they were located was, as a 
general rule, purchased before any move Was made from the 
East by the settlers. It is true that the success attendant upon 
these various enterprises was at first not marked but they were 
able to maintain a footing during adverse circumstances and to 
take advantage of the more favorable conditions which followed 
during the later forties. 

The lack of success experienced by the Rockwell colony 17 in 
La Salle must be attributed rather to the drawback of an un- 
healthful location than to financial distress. The Morristown 
colony 18 established in 1836 cannot be classified as a successful 
colony because of the few settlers who came. An unwise pro- 



8 History of McLean County, 603. 
8 Ibid., 597. 

10 Chicago Weekly American, Feb. 20, 1836. 

11 The New Yorker, Aug. 31, 1839. 

12 History of Henry County, 524. 

13 Ibid., 137. 

14 Thirtieth Anniversary of the Settlement of Geneseo, 5. 

15 Matson, Reminiscences of Bureau County, 331. 

18 Stories of the Pioneer Mothers of Illinois, (Letter of Mary Allen West, 
in Illinois Hist. Library). 

"Baldwin, History of La Salle County, 375. 
18 History of Henry County, 135. 



[279] 



566 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

vision concerning the holding of land and the forfeiture of it 
in case of default upon the part of the settlers to make improve- 
ments within a limited time, operated to the detriment of set- 
tlement. The provision placed a premium on the non-accept- 
ance of land, for by so doing the defaulter was able to double 
the money he had invested. 

Illinois, however, does not owe her wonderful growth in pop- 
ulation during this period, to the establishment of colonies. 
The substantial growth took place through the efforts of individ- 
uals to establish homes for themselves and to acquire prop- 
erty in the new country. Along the border of the Great Prairie 
in Eastern Illinois the numerous pioneers from Ohio and Ken- 
tucky settled. Fearing as yet to venture out into the open, 
they took up the lands near the sheltering timber and thus 
formed a net-work of settlement far out into the prairie without 
encountering any of its real difficulties. Along the great river 
system of the Illinois, the Kentucky and Tennessee hunter, fol- 
lowing the experience of generations of pioneers accustomed to 
combat the difficulties of the forest rather than the prairie, 
pushed their way northward to meet the stream of NeW Eng- 
landers and New Yorkers following the line of the proposed 
canal. Across in the Military Tract the same operation was 
going on along the Mississippi river and its numerous branches. 
The lead region, of course, owes its development to other than 
agricultural causes or desires to subdue a new country. The 
Rock river valley was rapidly filling up, especially in the upper 
portion Where water and good timber tracts were freely inter- 
spersed with the prairie lands. Here the southwestern and 
southern pioneer was seldom seen and New Englanders, New 
Yorkers and Pennsylvanians formed the greater part of the 
population. 

Lack of money among the new settlers, trouble over land 
claims and the difficulty of getting lumber and supplies from 
the lines of water transportation, coupled with a lack of markets 
for farm produce Were the only drawbacks to the development 
of the state at this time. Serious as these may seem, the de- 
velopment of Illinois during this period of "boom" was a rapid 
one and the ground work of settlement laid in the northern 

[280] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 567 

part of the state during these years of prosperity was strong 
enough to tide the young communities over the trying years 
to follow when it looked as if the state was surely to encounter 
financial shipwreck. 

In this period just described (1833 to 1837) the character of 
the settlement of northern Illinois was fixed once for all — the 
prairie man who was primarily a pioneer of the agricultural 
class, or the third type in the succession as followed heretofore, 
had now jumped into first place to the exclusion of the hunter 
and the small farmer. Events had operated for this and the 
result was inevitable. While the pioneers who had occupied the 
Illinois river woodlands were still safely residing in the south- 
ern settlements Waiting for the last echoes of the Black Hawk 
War to die away on the frontier, events were shaping themselves 
for a new immigration of a different type. Eestlessness had 
ever been a failing of Americans and it was increased after 1830 
by a combination of influences. In the previously enumerated 
causes 19 may be found the reasons for the new flow of immi- 
gration to Illinois, and in the application of steam to lake traffic 
may be found the influence directing this stream of immigra- 
tion, which gave eastern rather than southern characteristics to 
northern Illinois. Illinois land was as fertile as any in the 
West and land was what the immigrant wanted; Chicago was 
the terminus of the lake route, a natural gateway to the prairies 
and as a consequence when the great rage for speculation broke 
out in the thirties and a wild rash was made to the West, Illi- 
nois received a liberal share of the new settlers. 

The hunter-pioneers who were again returning to the wood- 
lands of the upper Illinois were few in numbers; the agricul- 
tural pioneers from New England and New York were poured 
into Illinois in swarms by the ever-increasing number of lake 
steamers. As the mania for speculation increased, the army of 
immigrants increased also, until all the available timber of 
this portion of the state was taken up. The hunter was primar- 
ily a frontiersman ; the new immigrant was primarily a farmer. 
The former wished to keep the new country as a hunting ground,, 
a sort of frontier; the latter wished at the earliest possible per- 



is Ch., II. 

[281] 



568 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OE WISCONSIN 

iod of time to convert the new country into an agricultural 
one. The hunter's woodlands were taken up; he knew nothing 
of the prairie and in all probability did not care to cultivate 
it. There was nothing left for him then but to move farther 
to the West in quest of the frontier. In this contest for the 
northern part of Illinois, volume and rapidity of transportation 
had been on the side of the agricultural man and numbers and 
steam had won, over inferior numbers and slower communi- 
cation. The result was inevitable as soon as the transportation 
problem had been solved, and to this element, primarily, it 
seems, must the northern complexion of this part of Illinois 
population be attributed. 

The period of depression extends over the years from 1837 
to 1843. Beginning in the eastern states the panic and its with- 
ering results swept quickly over the entire country. Specula- 
tion in western lands, in railways, in canals, in corner lots and 
river fronts tied up much money which was needed to conduct 
the business of the country. Overtrading, by means of which the 
country was drained of its specie; 20 the rapid multiplication of 
i wild-cat' banks 21 and subsequent suspension of specie pay- 
ments, together with Jackson's specie circular, precipitated the 
panic of 1837. 22 

Distress prevailed in the East, especially among the laborers 
and mechanics and in the rural districts the farmers soon began 
to feel the effects of the situation. Those who could get away 
from the cities did so and facing the West, looked to it to sup- 
ply homes and a new start in life. Farmers were, however, not 
able to sell their lands, for there were none who could buy. 
Consequently it appears that the majority of the immigrants 
to the West at this particular period, could not have belonged 
to the agricultural class in their native states. It was expected 
that a great influx of settlers would follow on the heels of this 
panic and it was so stated by some of the western papers. 23 
Observations made in the East show similar expectations, and 
they, for a time at least, proved correct. A Boston paper of 



20 Banker's Magazine, 12, 390. 

21 Walker, Money, 319. 

22 Wilson, Division- and Reunion, 94. 

23 Chicago Weekly American, May 13, 1837. 

[282] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 569 

April 14, 1837, says "The emigration to the great west is rapidly 
increasing from different parts of the country. The present 
stagnation in business — and the disastrous effects upon our 
mechanics and laborers — will tend to send many of them from 
our large towns and cities, where their services have been in 
constant demand for some years." 24 

The course of events in Illinois operated against the rapid 
settlement of the state during this period. Had not its own 
finances come into such a deplorable condition, Illinois could 
have profited by the movement to the West. Local conditions 
coupled with the general unsettled situation of the country 
served to intensify the depression in the state and the six years 
following 1837 were perhaps the darkest ones in its history. 

Thousands of acres of land had been purchased by the set- 
tlers and payments were regularly falling due. The effect of 
the Specie Circular was to draw off coin. Money became very 
scarce and the farmers, in order to obtain specie with which to 
make payments on their lands, were compelled to pay rates of 
interest which were excessively high. Twenty-five per cent, 
was exacted on five year loans and sometimes as high as seventy- 
five per cent, paid for one year loans. 25 To make matters worse 
counterfeit bank notes and much bogus coin got into circula- 
tion. 26 The agricultural class suffered severely, too, on ac- 
count of lack of markets. Few or no cash sales could be made 
for farm produce and when such sales could be effected, prices 
were exceedingly low. Barter was the means of carrying on 
trade and notes were sometimes drawn, payable in a cow or a 
horse or other farm products. 27 

The state by 1842, was in debt $14,000,000 for money wasted 
on internal improvements; 28 the domestic treasury was in ar- 
rears over $300,000 for ordinary governmental expenses; the 
state banks were beginning to grow shaky and then to collapse. 
After July, 1841, no attempt was made to pay even the interest 



24 Chicago Weekly American, May 6, 1837 (Boston Mercantile Journal, April 14, 
1837). 

23 The New Yorker, Jan. 12, 1839. 

26 The New Yorker, June 5, 1841. 

27 Clarke. History of McDonough County, 60. 

28 Blanchard, The Northwest and Chicago, 1> 663. 



[283 



570 BULLETIN OF THE TJNIVEBSITY OF WISCONSIN 

on the public debt; taxation was high and the people were un- 
able to pay even moderate rates. Illinois was in ill repute. 
There was no trade; real estate was almost unsalable; business 
was stagnated; everybody wanted to sell his property and move 
away but there were only a few either abroad or within the 
state who cared to buy. As it is summed up by Mr Blanch- 
ard, the increase or decrease of Illinois' population for the per- 
iod was small for "the impossibility of selling (property) kept 
us from losing population and the fear of disgrace and high 
taxes prevented us from growing materially." 29 

Almost endless disputes over land claims arose during this 
period to increase the turmoil in the state. Squatters had set- 
tled upon government lands and made improvements and upon 
the sale of these lands at the land offices, disputes over posses- 
sion arose, for often those who had purchased a title to certain 
lands found, upon their arrival upon their purchases, that they 
were already occupied and portions placed under cultivation 
by settlers 'who seemed not at all disposed to yield their rights- 
to the disputed tracts. 

Affairs began to assume a better aspect towards the end of 
1842 and the people began to take courage and commenced to 
work their way out of the depression. Governor Ford, then the 
chief executive of the state, opposed with might and main the 
movement towards repudiation of the state's debt. Neither 
did he wish immediate payment of this debt, if it Was to in- 
crease the burden of taxation. The sentiment of the legis- 
lature of 1842 and 1843 was also against any great increase 
of taxes, but finally a direct tax of one and one-half mills was 
levied for the purpose of paying the interest on the debt. 30 The 
most noteworthy move of this legislature was the passage of a 
set of resolutions in which it was stated that as representatives 
of the state of Illinois the members of the legislature recog- 
nized the legal and moral obligation of discharging every debt 
contracted by authorized agents of the state. Furthermore, 
the resolution contained a direct disavowal of repudiation, and 
as direct a statement that the revenues and resources of the 



29 IMd. } 1, 659. 
30 Ibid., 1, 662. 

[284] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 57l 

state Would be appropriated to pay its debts as soon as such 
appropriations could be made without impoverishing and op- 
pressing the people. 31 

The wise financial administration of Governor Ford and the 
expression by the legislature against repudiation did much to- 
wards renewing confidence in the state of Illinois, and, attracted 
by the brilliant opportunities presented, immigrants again be- 
gan to come in. The seasons of 1843 and 1844 were seasons of 
poor crops which operated against the state's prosperity and 
tended to delay the revival for a short time. 

By 1846 there were $9,000 in the state's treasury instead of 
a deficit; the auditor's warrants sold at par, or nearly so in- 
stead of at a fifty per cent, reduction as in 1842; silver and 
gold coins were replacing the bank notes of a few years before 
and $3,000,000 of the state debt had been paid and the pay- 
ment of $5,000,000 more provided for immediately upon the com- 
pletion of the Illinois-Michigan canal. 32 It appeared that Ill- 
inois had at last started upon the road to a sound financial sys- 
tem and the increase of population by immigration during the 
succeeding years shows to what extent this feeling of confidence 
in the future of the state, was shared by such people of the 
eastern states as were seeking homes in the West. 

The recovery was, however, not an immediate one in all dis- 
tricts. In the western portion of the state, in Mercer and Hen- 
derson counties, as late as 1848, it was with great difficulty that 
the farmers were able to procure enough money to pay for their 
lands. 33 In Ogle county, too, money was scarce for several years. 
Gradually the stream of new settlers increased, the timber lands 
were all taken up and the more venturesome settlers pushed 
short distances out into the prairies. 

During the closing years of the decade, however, when Doug- 
lass' Bill asking for a grant of land for the Illinois 1 Central 
railroad, was being discussed in Congress, attention was at- 
tracted to the prairie region of the state and upon the passage 
of the bill when the railroad became an assured fact, settlers 



31 Mies' Register, 63, 325. 

32 Blanchard, Northwest and Chicago, 1, 664. 

33 History of Mercer and Henderson Counties, 625. 

[285] 



572 BULLETIN OP THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

began to take up the prairie land which had for more than 
twenty years been open for occupation, but had not been bought. 
The construction of the road effectually opened up the country, 
giving the pioneers something to connect them with the rest 
of the world. 

In the northern portion of the state conditions were some- 
what similar. Lack of communication and of ready markets 
retarded settlement. Chicago and Galena in opposite corners 
of the state were the only markets of considerable importance 
and carting supplies to and from these points was slow work. 
The northern railroad line was begun late in the forties and with 
it came an increase of population, but in 1850 there was still 
a great amount of unsettled country. 34 Some emigration took 
place from various quarters of the state in 1849 and 1850, 
owing to the discovery of gold in California, 35 but it was hardly 
enough to be of much consequence. 

Lines of transportation and communication influenced the 
character of the settlement of the various districts of the state. 
On the outskirts of the Great Prairie of eastern Illinois, in 
the timbered portions, were found the pioneers of the south- 
western states, who had come by the southern wagon roads to 
this district. Later the men from Ohio and Indiana filled up 
the remaining spaces. They, too, to a great extent, came by 
various wagon roads and finding good land in this region were 
content to settle upon it. In the middle Illinois river counties 
the same thing is noticeable as in the southern portion of the 
Military Tract. Contact with the central Illinois counties, 
which were populated to a great extent by Kentuckians, in- 
fluenced the population of these districts. Going farther to the 
north we find in the upper Illinois river counties and the val- 
leys of the Fox and Rock rivers, the New Yorkers and New 
Englanders. They had come by the easiest road, over the Great 
Lakes, and had settled in the northern counties before the south- 
ern stream had reached the northern timber tracts. Across the 



34 Lothrop, Directory of Champaign County, 122 ; Beckwith, History of Iro- 
quois County, 337; Beckwith, History of 'Vermilion County', 801. 

35 History of McLean County, 232 ; Boies, History of DeKalb County, 404 ; His- 
tory of Sangamon County, 536. 



[286] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830~50 573 

state in the lead region a community with southern sympathies 
was planted. The Mississippi river was the highway of com- 
merce and travel for this part of the state and the southern 
cities were the outlets of its commerce. As a consequence 
southern influences were brought to bear directly on the inhab- 
itants of the district. Many of the settlers were southerners by 
birth and this fact combined with the close connection with 
the South by way of the river tended to give the entire region 
a marked southern tone. 

The importance of communication is shown by the fact that 
the chief cities, Quincy, Peoria, Rushville, Peru, Ottawa, Joliet, 
Elgin, St. Charles, Rockford and Galena 36 were on or near the 
rivers. Chicago and Waukegan were on Lake Michigan. 
Many of the small inland villages, through the influence of the 
railroads, grew to be of importance after 1850. 
• The census states that 736,931 native born Americans re- 
sided in Illinois in 1850. Of these 343,618 were natives of the 
state itself and 393,313 had come from other localities. Over 
36,500 were New Englanders; 112,000 were from the Middle 
States; nearly 52,600 were from the South Atlantic States; 
2,400 from Kentucky and Tennessee; 98,400 from the states of 
the Northwest Territory, and 9,469 were from across the Miss- 
issippi. New York sent 67,180 immigrants ; Ohio 64,219 ; Ken- 
tucky, 49,588 ; Pennsylvania, 37,979 ; Tennessee, 32,303 ; Indiana, 
30,953 and Virginia, 24,697. The other states each sent less 
than 20,000. Not one New England state is found in the above 
list, the greatest number coming from any of those states came 
from Vermont, which sent 11,381. The representation from 
California was the least of all — three. 37 

In closing the discussion it may be stated that the great per- 
vading power which influenced the settlement of northern Ill- 
inois and built up this portion of the state with astonishing 
rapidity and which gave the northern character to its popula- 
tion was the development of steam navigation upon the lakes. 
It is true that the spirit of immigration pervaded the entire 
nation and that this factor augmented by general influences 



38 Each town had 2,000 or more inhabitants. 
87 Seventh Census, (1850), xxxvi. 

[287] 






574 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

sweeping over the East and by local conditions in its various 
regions served as levers to start the movement westward with 
tremendous force; but it remained for the transportation lines 
of the Great Lakes to shape the course of the movement and to 
turn the stream into Illinois through its gateway at Chicago. In 
this respect the settlement of northern Illinois is typical of the 
development of the North Middle States in that the influence 
of the lines of transportation tended to reproduce in the New 
"West hundreds of communities in sympathy with their parent 
states across the Alleghanies. The strong bonds of lines of 
transportation connecting the East and the West, tended to 
wipe out sectional feelings between these parts of the nation and 
the lack of lines connecting the North and South serves to in- 
crease this feeling between the North and the South. Sectional- 
ism in the United States, with the increase of these transporta- 
tion lines now changed rapidly from longitudinal to latitudinal. 
Strictly speaking, the period from 1830 to 1850 is one of 
varied characteristics, but taken in the light of the solution of 
the problem of the prairies, it is one of beginnings only. The 
pioneer as yet did not understand the wide, treeless areas around 
him ; he lacked confidence in his ability to cope with the difficul- 
ties they offered and he lacked the power to overcome these 
obstacles single-handed. Steam was again to be the key to the 
situation and during the following decade when the railroads 
spanned the state south and west from Chicago the line of com- 
munication with the East was completed. The market was 
brought closer to the consumer and to the producer, the prob- 
lem of obtaining lumber and merchandise at reasonable prices 
was solved and most important of all, when the prairie farmer 
was finally able to see railroad trains cross the state day after 
day, he felt that no longer was he shut off from the rest of man- 
kind when at last he swung clear of the timber and built his 
s cabin on the open prairie. 



[288] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 575 



Bibliography 



Owing to the nature of the subject matter in this monograph 
the material used is widely scattered. There are no works deal- 
ing exclusively with the settlement of the state and one is, 
therefore, compelled to search the state, county and city histories 
for the desired information. 

Information concerning the social and economic conditions 
influencing the movement of population towards the West must 
be sought in the local histories and newspapers of the eastern 
states. Some of the government reports contain considerable 
valuable material on these points. Estimates of the cost of 
transportation are accessible in the numerous emigrants' guides 
and gazetteers of the period ; routes of travel are also designated 
but much information can be obtained on this point by con- 
sulting the biographies of the early pioneers. The newspapers 
tell much of the volume of immigration. 

For the struggles of the pioneers with the prairies, local his- 
tories, autobiographies and reminiscences of the early pioneers 
are valuable, as are periodicals such as the Prairie Farmer 
which contains much information concerning the cultivation of 
the prairies. In the writings of the many travelers who passed 
through the West in the years preceding 1850, information can 
be had concerning pioneer society. However, it is well to use 
these accounts with caution since many of the writers were not 
friendly. J. B. McMaster's History of the People of the United 
States, 5, chap, xlviii shows the feeling entertained by English 
travelers towards the people and institutions of the United 
States. In the proceedings, publications and collections of 
learned societies are often found articles of interest treating of 
pioneer days. 



19 [ 289 ] 



576 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN" 



I. General Authorities 

(1) Illinois: 

Illinois in 1837 (1837); 

Illinois Blue Book, (1900); 

Historical Encyclopaedia of Illinois. (1900); 

Breese, S., Early History of Illinois. (1884) ; 

Brown, H., History of Illinois (1844) ; 

Brown, W. H., An Historical Sketch of the Early Move* 
ment in Illinois for the Legalization of Slavery, in 
Fergus Historical Series, 4; 

Carpenter, W. EL, and Arthur, T. S., History of Illinois 
(1857) ; 

Davidson, A., and Stuve, B., A Complete History of Illi- 
nois from 1673 to 1873 (1874) ; 

Edwards, N. W., History of Illinois and Life and Times 
of Ninian Edwards (1870) ; 

Ford, T., History of Illinois (1854) ; 

Flower, G., History of the English Settlement in Ed- 
wards County, Illinois (Chicago 1882) ; 

Gerhard, F., Illinois As It Is (1857) ; 

Goode, J. P., The Geography of Illinois. Maps ; 

Harris, N. D., History of Negro Servitude in Illinois 
1719 to 1864, (1904) ; 

James, E. J., Territorial Records of Illinois, in Illinois 
State Historical Society Publications (1901); 

McCormiek, H., A Topical Guide to the Study of the 
History of Illinois, (Normal 111. 1906) ; 

Moses, J., History of Illinois (2 vols. 1889-1892) ; 

Parker, J. M., The growth of the State of Illinois and the 
City of Chicago (1872) ; 

Patterson, R. W., Early Society in Southern Illinois in 
Fergus Historical Series, 2 ; 

Reynolds, J., Illinois: My Own Times (1854, 1855 also 
1879) ; 

[ 290 ] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830~50 577 

Shaw, A., Local Government in Illinois in Johns Hop- 
kins University Studies, 1. 
(2) General Works: 

Panics and Commercial Revulsions in the United States 
(1857) ; 

Blanchard, H., The Northwest and Chicago (2 vols, Chi- 
cago, 1898-1900) ; 

Bourne, E. G., Distribution of the Surplus (1885) ; 

Dewey, D. R., Financial History of the United States 
(1903) ; 

Gould, E. W., Fifty Years on the Mississippi (1889) ; 

Haymond, W. S., Indiana (1879) ; 

Hulburt, A. B., Historic Highways of America (16 vols. 
1902-1905) 9, Waterways of Expansion; 

McCulloch, H., Men and Measures of Half a Century 
(1888) ; 

MeMaster, J. B., A History of the People of the United 
States 5, 6. (7 vols. 1883-1900) ; 

Scott, W. A., Repudiation of State Debts (1893) ; 

Stevens, F. E., The Black Hawk War (1903) ; 

Strong, M. N., History of the Territory of Wisconsin 
from 1836-1848 (1885); 

Taussig, P. W., Tariff History of the United States (re- 
vised edition 1898) ; 

Von Hoist, H., The Constitutional and Political History 
of the United States, 2,3. (8 vols. 1876-1892) ; 

Walker, 0. B., The Mississippi Valley (1880) ; 

Wilson, W., Division and Reunion, 1829-1889 (1901). 



II. Public Documents, State Reports, Etc. 

Reports of the Superintendent of the Federal Census, especially; 

for 1830, 1840 and 1850; 
Abstract of the Seventh Census (1850) ; 
Compendium of the Seventh Census (1850) ; 
Eighth Census (I860) Agriculture; 



[291] 



578 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

Twelfth Census (1900) Statistical Atlas; 

Congressional Debates (1825-37) ; 

The Congressional Globe (1833-1873); 

Senate Documents (1817-1849) ; 

Senate Miscellaneous Documents (1847-) ; 

Executive Documents (1830-1847) ; 

House Executive Documents (1847-) ; 

House Miscellaneous Documents (1847-) ; 

House Reports of Committees (1819-) ; 

Reports of the Commissioner of Education; 

Eighteenth Annual Report of the American Bureau of Ethnol- 
ogy (1896-97) ; 

Seventh Report of the Ohio State Board of Agriculture (1852) ; 

Report of the Geological Survey of Ohio, 5 ; Economic Geology 
(1884) ; 

Report of the Illinois and Michigan Canal Commissioners 
(1884) ; 

Pillsbury, W. L., Early Education in Illinois in Sixteenth Bien- 
nial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of 
the State of Illinois (1886) ; 

Willard, S., Brief History of Early Education in Illinois in 
the Fifteenth Annual Report of the Superintendent of Pub- 
lic Instruction in the State of Illinois (1884) ; 

Memorial of the Citizens of Cincinnati to the Congress of the 
United States Relative to the Navigation of the Ohio and 
the Mississippi Rivers (1844) ; 

Constitution of the South Carolina Institute, for the Promotion 
of Art, Mechanical Ingenuity and Industry (1849). 

III. Publications of Historical Societies 

Publications of the Illinois State Historical Society (1899- 
1905). 

Annual Proceedings of the Illinois Association of Sons of Ver- 
mont (10 vols. 1877-1776) ; 

Evanston Historical Society Publications (1902) ; 

Early Campmeetings in the McLean County (III.) Historical 
Society Transactions, 2, (1903) ; 

[292] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 579 

Armstrong, P. A., Historical Oration delivered before the Old 
Settlers Association of Grundy County, Illinois, July Jj,, 
1876 at Morris, Illinois (1876); 

Boss, H. R., Early Newspapers in Illinois in Franklin So- 
ciety Publications, 2, (1870) ; 

Cheyney, E. P., The Anti-Bent Agitation in the State of New 
York 1839-1846 in the University of Pennsylvania Publi- 
cations '(1887) ; 

Goodwin, H. M., A Commemorative Discourse delivered in the 
First Congregational Church, Bockford, August 1J/., 1870 
(1870) ; 

Gratiot, H., A Pioneer of Wisconsin in Wis. Hist. Society Col- 
lections, 1 ; 

Haines, J., Social Life and Scenes in the Early Settlement of 
Central Illinois in Transaction of the Illinois State Histor- 
ical Society (1905) ; 

Kingston, J. T., Early Western Bays in Wis. Hist. Society Col- 
lections, 7; 

Kofoid, Carrie P., Puritan Influence in the Formative Years of 
Illinois History in Transactions of the Illinois State His- 
torical Society (1905) ; 

Murray, D., The Anti-Bent Episode in the State of New York 
in Am. Hist. Association Beports, 1, (1896) ; 

Parkinson, D. M., Pioneer Life in Wisconsin in Wis. Hist. So- 
ciety Collections, 2 ; 

Reizenstein, M., The Baltimore and Ohio Bailroad in John Hop- 
kins University Studies, 1 5 ; 

Rodolf, T., Pioneering in the Wisconsin Lead Begion in Wis. 
Hist. Society Collections, 15; 

Salisbury, G. H., The Speculative Craze of '36 in the Buffalo 
Historical Society Publications, 4, (1896) ; 

Sanf ord, A. H., State Sovereignty in Wisconsin in the Am. Hist. 
Association Beports (1891) ; 

Tenney, H. A.,, Early Times in Wisconsin in Wis. Hist. Society 
Collections, 1 ; 

Thwaites, R. G., Story of the Black Hawk War, in ibid., 12; 

Notes on Early Leadmining in the Fever (or Galena) Biver 
Begion. in ibid., 1 3 ; 

[293] 



580 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

Tipton, T. F., Sports and Pastimes of the Pioneers in McLean 
County Historical Society Transactions, 1, (1899) ; 

Walker, Capt. A., Early Days on the Lakes in the Buffalo His- 
torical Society Publications, 5, (1902) ; 

"Ward, G. "W., The Early Development of the Chesapeake and 
Ohio Canal Project in the Johns Hopkins University Stud- 
ies, 17; 

Winden, J., Influence of the Erie Canal (MSS. Thesis, Univer- 
sity of Wisconsin 1900). 



IV. Reminiscences, Biographies, Papers, Etc. 

Calhoun Papers in American Hist. Association Reports, 2, 
(1899) ; 

Stories of the Pioneer Mothers of Illinois (MSS. in the IUinois 
Historical Library) ; 

Coffin, Levi, Reminiscences (1880) ; 

Palmer, John M., Personal Recollections (1901) ; 

Collyer, R., The Life of A. H. Conant (1868) ; 

Bonner, T. D., Life and Adventures of Beckivourth (1858) ; 

Chetlain, A. L., Recollections of Seventy Years (1899) ; 

Ford, W. C, [Ed] Papers of James Monroe (1904) ; 

Hamilton, H. E., [Ed] Incidents and Events in the Life of Gur- 
don Saltonsiall Hubbard (1888) ; 

HoWells, W. C, Recollections of Life in Ohio from 1813 to 
1340 (1895) ; 

McLaughlin, A. C, Lewis Cass (Boston, 1900) ; 

Reid, H., Biographical Sketch of Enoch Long, an Illinois Pio- 
neer (1884) ; 

Rombauer, R. E., Life of the Hon. Gustavus Koerner in Trans- 
actions of the Illinois State Historical Society (1904) ; 

Schurz, C, Henry Clay (2 vols., Boston, 1900) ; 

Shaw, Col. J., Personal Narrative in Wis. Hist. Society Collec- 
tions, 2 ; 

Shephard, E. M., Martin Van Buren (Boston, 1900) ; 

Thwaites, R. G., Narrative of Morgan L. Martin in Wis. Hist 
Society Collections, 2 ; 

[294] 



POOLET SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 581 

Tillson, C. H., Reminiscences of Early Life in Illinois, 1819 to 

1827 (1870) ; 
Willard, S., Personal Reminiscences of Life in Illinois, 1830~ 

1850 in Transactions of the Illinois State Historical Society 

(1906.) 

V. Travels, Gazetteers and Emigrants' Guides 

Those works which have been most useful in the preparations 
of this monograph are the following: 
Abdy, E. S., Journal of a Residence and Tour in the United 

States of North America 1833-1834 (London 1835) ; 
Albach, J. R., Annals of the West (Cincinnati 1846, St. Louis 

1850, Pittsburg 1857) ; 
The Americans as They Are (London 1828) ; 
A New Yorker, A Winter in the West (2 vols. New York 1835) ; 
Atwater, C, Writings (Columbus, O., 1833) ; 
Barber, J. W., and Howe, H., All the Western States and Ter- 
ritories (Cincinnati 1867) ; 
Barclay, Capt, An Agricultural Tour in the United States and 

Upper Canada (Edinburgh and London 1842) ; 
Beck, L. C, A Gazetteer of the States of Illinois and Missouri 

(Albany 1823) ; 
Blois, J. T., Gazetteer of the State of Michigan . . . and a 

Directory for Emigrants (Detroit and New York 1840) ; 
Bremer, Fredrika, The Homes of the New World; Impressions 

of America (2 vols, translated by Mary Howett, New York, 

1853) ; 
Brown,, R. S., Western Gazetteer (1817) ; 

Buckingham, J. S., The Eastern and Western States of Amer- 
ica (3 vols. London 1842) ; 
Chevalier, M., Society, Manners and Politics in the United States 

(Boston 1839); 
Collins, S. H., The Emigrants' Guide to and Description of 

the United States of America (London 1830) ; 
Conkey, W., A Journey from Massachusetts to Illinois in 1830 

tin Transactions of the Illinois State Historical Society 

(1906) ; 

[ 295 J 



582 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVEBSITY OF WISCONSIN 

Curtiss, D. S., Western Portraiture and Emigrants' Guide (New 

York, 1852) ; 
Dana, E., Geographical Sketches on the Western Country (Cin- 
cinnati 1819) ; 
Davis, W. W., A Trip From Pennsylvania to Illinois in 1851 

in Transactions of the Illinois State Historical Society 

(1904) ; 
De Bow, J. D., The Industrial Resources of the United States 

(3 vols. New York 1854) ; 
Faux, "W., Memorable Days in America (London 1823) ; 
Farnham, Eliza "W., Life in Prairie Land (New York 1846) ; 
Ferrall, S. A., A Ramble of 6000 Miles Through the United 

States of America (London 1832) ; 
Ferguson, W., America by River and Rail (London 1856) ; 
Flint, T., History and Geography of the Mississippi Valley (2 

vols., edition 1832) ; 

Letters from America (Thwaites Edition) ; 
Fordham, E. P., Personal Narrative (edited by F. A. Ogg) ; 
Godley, J. R., Letters from America (2 vols. London 1844) ; 

Guide to the Illinois Central Railroad Lands (Chicago 
1861) ; 
Grund, F. J., The Americans in Their Moral, Social and Polit- 
ical Relations (2 vols. London 1837) ; 
Hall, J., Letters from the West (Cincinnati 1828) ; 

Legends of the West (Cincinnati 1833) ; 

Statistics of the West ('Cincinnati 1836) ; 

Notes on the Western States (Cincinnati 1838) ; 
Hall, E. H., The Northern Counties, Gazetteers and Directory 

for 1855-1856; A Perfect and Complete Guide to Northern 

Illinois (Chicago 1855) ; 
Harding, B., Tours Through the Western Country, 1818- 

1819 (New London 1819); 
Hawes, G. "W., Illinois State Gazetteer and Business Directory 

for 1858-1859 (Chicago 1859); 
Jones, A. D., Illinois and the West (Boston and Phila. 1838) ; 
Latrobe, C. J., The Rambler in North America (2 vols. New 

York 1835) ; 
Lewis Rev. G., Impressions of America (Edinburgh 1845) ; 
Lloyd-Jones, C, Immigration Routes to Wisconsin (MSS. Thesis 

University of Wisconsin 1902) ; 

[296] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 583 

MacGregor, J., Commercial Statistics of America (London) ; 

Marshall, J. T., Farmer's and Emigrant's Handbook (New 
York 1845) ; 

Martineau, Harriett, Society in America, 1834-1836 (3 vols'. 
London 1837) ; 

Meeker, N. C, Life in the West (New York 1868) ; 

Mitchell, S. A., Sketches of Illinois (Phila. 1838) ; 

Murray, C. A., Travels in North America (2 vols. London 1854) ; 

Norris and Gardiner, Illinois Annual Register and Western 
Business Directory for 1847 (Chicago 1847) ; 

Patten, E., A Glimpse at the United States and the Northern 
States of America (London 1853) ; 

Peck, J. M., Guide for Emigrants (1831) ; 

Peck, Rev. G., Traveler's Directory for Illinois in the Metho- 
dist Quarterly Review, July, 1843; 

Peyton, J. L., A Statistical View of the State of Illinois (Chi- 
cago 1855) ; 

Rantoul, R., Letter to Robert Schuyler . . . on the Value 
of the Public Lands of Illinois (Boston 1851) ; 

Regan, J., The Emigrant's Guide to the Western States of 
America (Edinburgh 1852) ; 

Reynolds, J., Sketches of the Country on the Northern Route 
from Belleville, Illinois to the City of New York (Belle- 
ville 1854); 

Salsbacher, Dr. J., Meine Reise nach der Vereinigten Siaaien 
(Vienna 1845); 

Scott, Rev. J. L., A Journal of a Missionary Tour (Providence, 
1843) ; 

Shultz, C, Travels on an Inland Voyage (2 vols. New York 
1810) ; 

Smith, J. C, The Western Tourist and Emigrants' Guide (New 
York 1839); 

Stuart, J., Three Years in North America (2 vols. New York 
1833); 

Steele, Mrs., A Summer Journey in the West (New York 1841) ; 

Tanner, H. S., View of the Valley of the Mississippi (1834) 

Thomason, Rev. D. R., Hints to Emigrants (London 1849) 

Thwaites, R, G. [Ed,], Early Western Travels (1748-1846) 

[297] 



584 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

Van Zandt, N. B., A Full Description . . . of the Military 
Lands between the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers (Wash- 
ington 1 , 1818) ; 

View of the Valley of the Mississippi or the Emigrants' and 
Travellers" Guide to the West (Phila. 1834); 

"Warden, D. B., Statistical, Political and Historical Account of 
the United States of North America (3 vols. Edinburgh., 
1819) ; 

Whittlesey, C, Recollections of a Tour through Wisconsin in 
1832 in Wis. Hist. Society Collections, 1 ; 

Wyse, F., America; Its Realities and Resources (3 vols. London, 
1846). 

VI. Periodicals 

Considerable information has been gathered from periodicals 
both American and European, but the material is scattered. 
The articles in the European magazines deal chiefly with eco- 
nomic and social conditions and are noted in that part of the 
bibliography dealing with immigration and foreigners in Ill- 
inois. 

Many newspapers of value for material on Illinois are found 
in the files in the Chicago Historical Society and those in the 
Merchants Library at St. Louis. 

For the files in the State Historical Library of Wisconsin, see 
the Annotated Catalogue of Newspaper Files (1899) ; 

The following publications were used constantly: 
DeBow's Commercial Review of the South and West (1846- 

1860). 
Hazard, S., [Ed.] United States Commercial and Statistical 

Register (1839—). 
Hunt's Merchants' Magazine and Commercial Review (1839- 

1870). 
Mies' Weekly Register (1811-1849). 
Illinois Monthly Magazine (1831-1832). 
The Prairie Farmer (1840 — ). 
The Western Monthly Magazine (1833-1837). 

Others which have been used to a less degree are : 

[298] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 585 

Hazard, S., [Ed.] Register of Pennsylvania (1828-1836). 

Homans, J. S., [Ed.] The Banker's Magazine and State Fi- 
nancial Register, 12. 

Land We Love, 5. 

Magazine of Western History (1884-1891). 

Putnam's Monthly Magazine of American Literature, Science 
and Art, 4. 

The American Railroad Journal and General Advertiser (1845- 
1861). 

The Atlantic Monthly, 26. 

The Christian Examiner, 51, 82. 

The Family Magazine, 6. 

The Nation, 8. 

The National Calendar (1830). 

The New Englander, 52. 

Yale Review, 1. 

Scattered material has been found in the following Illinois 

newspapers : 

Chicago American (1835-1842). 

Chicago Democrat (1833-1861). 

Chicago Express (1843). 

Chicago Evening Post (for Sept. 5, 1896). 

Chicago Inter Ocean (for Dec. 14, 1904). 

Chicago Journal (1844-1853). 

Chicago Times (for April 30, 1846). 

Chicago Tribune (1847). 

Gem of the Prairies (1847-1851). 

Illinois Advocate and State Register (1833-1835). 

Miner 1 ■ 's Journal (1826). 

Miner's Free Press (1840). 

Nauvoo Neighbor (1843-1845). 

Nauvoo New Citizen (for Feb. 24, 1847). 

Nauvoo Times and Seasons (for Sept. 15, 1841). 

Northwestern Gazette and Galena Advertiser (1834 ). 

Peoria Register and Northwestern Gazetteer (1837-1839). 

Rockford Forum (1847). 

Rock River Gazette (for Oct. 14, 1842). 

Sangamo Journal (1836-1838). 

[299] 



586 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

Semi-Weekly Galena Jeffersonian (1845-1855). 

The Western Pioneer and Baptist Standard Bearer (1830- 

1835). 
Warsaw Signal (for Oct. 13, 1846). 
Western Citizen (1842-53). 
Western Herald (1846-1847). 

Newspapers published outside of Illinois: 
Albany Argus (1813-1856). 
Albany Cultivator (1834). 
American Agriculturist (1842). 
Boston Patriot (1809-1831). 
Boston Weekly Messenger (1811). 
Buffalo Commercial Advertiser (1844-47). 
Cincinnati Chronicle (1836-1850). 

Cincinnati Gazette (1815 ). 

Delaware (N. Y.) Courier (for Jan. 29, Feb. 6, 1864). 

Delaware (N. Y.) Gazette (for Sept., 1841). 

Genesee Farmer (1831-1840). 

Greene County (0.) Torchlight (1838). 

Louisville Weekly Messenger (1836-1838). 

Madison Express (1839-1848). 

New York Era (for Sept. 5, 1837). 

New York Weekly Herald (1841). 

New York World (1860). 

The New Yorker (1836-1841). 

The Ohio Statesman (1837). 

Wheeling Gazette (for Sept. 1, 1832). 

Wisconsin Enquirer (1838-1842). 

Wiskonsan Enquirer (1842). 

VII. Local Histories 

Much of the material upon the specific settlements of the state 
has been obtained from county histories. When there are two or 
more of the same county, both are noted. They differ in re- 
liability and must be used with caution. When the histories 
of two or more counties are in one volume, they are grouped 
in the summary under one title. The following works have 
been consulted in addition to county histories of other states ; 

[300] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 587 

Adams County, (1879). 

Alexander, Union and Pulaski Counties^ (1883). 

Bond and Montgomery Counties, (1882). 

Boone County, (1877). 

Bureau County, Voters and Tax payers, (1877). 

Bradsby, Henry C., History of Bureau County, (1885). 

Matson, Nehemiah, Reminiscences of Bureau County, (1872). 

Carroll County, (1878). 

Cass County, (1882). 

Champaign County, (1878). 

Lothrop, J. S., Champaign County Directory, (1871). 

Coles County, (1879). 

Andreas, A. T., Cook County, (1884). 

Crawford and Clark Counties, (1883). 

Cumberland, Jasper and Richland Counties, (1884). 

Boies, Henry L., Be Kalb County, (1868). 

Be Kalb County, Voters and Tax payers, (1876). 

Be Witt County, (1882). 

Blanchard, Rufus, Bu Page County, (1882). 

Richmond, C. W. and Vallette, H. F., Bu Page County, (1857). 

Edgar County, (1879). 

Effingham County, (1883). 

Fayette County, (1878). 

Fulton County, (1879). 

Gallatin, Saline, Hamilton, Franklin and Williamson Counties, 

(1887). 
Greene County, (1879). 
Grundy County, (1882). 
Gregg, Thomas, Hancock County, (1880). 
Henry County, Tax Payers and Voters, (1877). 
Beckwith, Hiram W., Iroquois County, (1880). 
Jefferson County, (1883). 
Jo Baviess County, (1878). 
Kane County, (1878). 
Hicks, E. W., Kendall County, (1877). 
Knox County, (1878). 
Haines, Elijah W., Lake County, (1852). 



[301 



588 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

Lake County, (1877). 

La Salle County, (1886). 

La Salle County, Past and Present, (1877). 

Baldwin, Elmer., La Salle County, (1877). 

Lee County, (1881). 

Livingston County, (1878). 

Macon County, (1880). 

Madison County, (1882). 

Marion and Clinton Counties, (1881). 

Me Donough County, (1878 and 1885). 

Mc Henry County, (1886). 

Mc Lean County, (1879). 

Dnis, Dr. E., Good old Times in Mc Lean County, (1874). 

Menard and Mason Counties, (1879). 

Mercer County, (1882). 

Ogle County, (1878). 

Ogle County, Sketches, (1859). 

Peoria County, (1880). 

Pike County, (1880). 

Ford, Henry A., Putnam and Marshall Counties (1860). 

Bock Island County, (1877). 

Henderson, John G., Early History of the Sangamon Country? 

(1873). 
Schuyler and Brown Counties, (1882). 
Shelby and Moultrie Counties, (1881). 
'St. Clair County, (1881). 
Stephenson County, (1880). 

Johnston, W. J., Sketches of Stephenson County, (1854). 
Beckwith, Hiram "W., Vermilion County, (1879). 
Coffeen, Henry A., Vermilion County, (1871). 
Warren County, (1877). 
Whiteside County, (1877). 
Will County, (1878). 
Winnebago County, (1877). 
Woodford County, (1878). 



[302] 



P00LEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 589 



VIII. Biographical Records 

In connection with the county histories enumerated, the fol- 
lowing Biographical Records were of value in determining the 

nativities of the early settlers: 

Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, (Clarke, Chicago, 
1896). 

De Kalb County, (Clarke, 1898). 

De Witt County, (Clarke, 1901). 

Hancock, McDonough and Henderson Counties, (1894). 

Jo Daviess and Carroll Counties, (Chapman Bros., Chicago, 
1889). 

Kane County, (Beers, Leggett & Co., Chicago, 1888). 

Kankakee County, (1893). 

Kendall County, (George Fisher & Co., Chicago, 1876). 

Livingston and Woodford Counties, (1900). 

McLean County, (Clarke, 1899). 

Ogle County, (Clarke, 1899). 

Bock Island County, (1885). 

Whiteside County, (Chapman Bros., 1885) ; also one by Clarke, 
1900. 

Winnebago and Boone Counties, (Chicago Biographical Pub- 
lishing Co., 1892). 

Woodford County, (Chapman Bros., 1889). 

IX. Histories of Chicago 

A great deal has been written upon Chicago and its wonder- 
ful growth. Of the mass of material, the following works were 
found most useful: 

Andreas, A. T., History of Chicago, (3 Vols. 1885). 
Balestier, Joseph N., Annals of Chicago in Fergus Historical 

Series, 1. 
Binckley, J. M., The Chicago of the Thinker, in the Lakeside, 

Oct., 1873. 
Bross, W., History of Chicago, (1876). 

Colbert, E. and Chamberlin, E., Chicago and the Great Con- 
flagration, (1872). 

[303] 



590 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

Cleaver, C., A History of Chicago from 1833 to 1892, (1892). 

Flinn, J. J., and Wilkie, J. E., A History of the Chicago Police, 
(1887). 

Gale, E. 0., Reminiscences of Early Chicago and Vioinity, 
(1902). 

Hayes, A. A., Jr., Metropolis of the Prairies, in Harper's Maga- 
zine, Oct., 1880. 

Hulbert, H. H., Chicago Antiquities, (1881). 

Kirkland, J., Story of Chicago, (2 vols. 1892-1894). 

Mason, E. G., Early Chicago and Illinois, (1890). 

Moses, J. and Kirkland, J., History of Chicago, (2 vol. 1895). 

Sheahan, J. W., and Upton, G. P., The Great Conflagration, 
(1872). 

Van Dorn, L., A Vieiv of Chicago in 1848 in Magazine of West- 
em History, May, 1889. 

"Wentworth, J., Reminiscences of Early Chicago, in Fergus 
Historical Series, 1. 

By Gone Days and Early Chicago, (A collection of newspaper 
articles on the early history of Chicago. Chicago Histori- 
cal Society Library). 

General Directory and Business Advertiser of the City of Chi- 
cago, (1844). 

Historical and Commercial Statistics of Chicago in Western 
Journal and Civilian, April, 1854. 

Industrial Chicago, (6 vols., 1894). 

Statistical and Historical View of Chicago, (1869). 
Other local histories are: 

Asbury, H., Reminiscences of Quincy, (1882). 

Ballance, C, The History of Peoria, (1870). 

Bascom, Rev. F., An Historical Discourse: Commemorative of 
the Settlement of Galesburg, (Galesburg, 1866). 

Carr, E. I., The History of Rockton, 1820 to 1893, (1898). 

Church, C. A., History of Rockford, (1900). 

Davidson, J. N., Some Distinctive Characteristics of the History 
of our Lead Region in Forty Sixth Annual Proceedings of 
State Historical Society of Wisconsin, (1899). 

Drown, S. D., Record and Historical View of Peoria, (1850). 

Eads, A. B., Illustrated History of Rockford, (1884). 

[304] 



POOLET SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 591 

Flagler, D. "W., History of the Bock Island Arsenal, (1877). 
Meeker, M., Early History of the Lead Region of Wisconsin in 

Wis. Hist. Soc. Collections, 6. 
Redmond, P. H., History of Quincy, (1869). 
Roy, J. E., Memorial Address and Proceedings at the Thirtieth 

Anniversary of the Settlement of Geneseo, (Chicago, 1867). 
Sellon, C. J., History of Galesburg, (1857). 
"Washburne, E. B., The Lead Region and Lead Trade of the 

Upper Mississippi in Hunt's Merchant's Magazine, March 

1848. 
"Woodruff, G. H., Forty Years Ago — A Contribution to the 

Early History of Joliet and Will County, (1874). 
History of Dixon and Lee County, (1870). 
History of the City of Elgin, {Chicago Republican, March 16, 

1867). 
Galena and Its Lead Mines in Harper's Magazine, May, 1866. 

X. Foreigners in Illinois 

Information concerning the conditions in Europe which lead 

to emigration can be found in the periodicals of the time. The 

location of this population in Illinois is easiest found in the 

local histories and in the secondary works on foreigners in the 

United States. The following works have been useful in 

gathering material: 

Deutsch-Amerikanische Geschichsbldtter (Chicago 1900 — ). 

Schriften des Vereins fur Social Politik, 52. 

European Emigration to the United States in Edinburgh Re- 
view, July, 1854. 

Foreign Immigration, Its Natural and Extraordinary Causes 
in American Whig Review, Nov., Dec, 1847; April ,1848; 

Immigration into the United States in DeBow's Review, March, 
1848. 

Manufacturing Emigration in Litt ells' Living Age, Jan., 1847. 

The Famine Lands in ibid., Aipril, 1847. 

The Revolutions of Europe, 1830-1840 in the North American 
Review, July, 1848. 

German Emigration in Litt ell's Living Age, Oct., 1846. 

20 [ 305 ] 



592 BULLETIN" OF THE TJNTVEESITY OF WISCONSIN 

German Emigration to America in the North American Review, 

July, 1820. 
Our Poor Law Administration in the British Quarterly Review, 

April, 1868. 
Present Conditions of Great Britian in the Edinburgh Review, 

April, 1851. 
The Modern Exodus in its Effects on the British Isles in the 

North British Review, Nov., 1852. 
Ireland and Its Famine in the British Quarterly Review, May, 

1847. 
Ireland in 1834 in the Dublin University Magazine, Jan., 1835. 
The Irish in America in the Metropolitan Jan., 1857. 
The American Review, 6. 
Blackwood's Magazine, 64. 
The Dublin Review, 1, 15. 
The Fortnightly Review, 8. 
The Harbinger, 2. 
Anderson, R. B., The First Chapter on Norwegian Immigration, 

1821-1840 ^Madison, 1895). 
Bagenal, P. H., The American Irish and their Influence on Irish 

Politics (London 1882). 
Becker, M. J., The Germans of 1849 in America (1887). 
Bruncken, E., How Germans become Americans in Wis. Hist. 

Society Proceedings (1898). 
Burritt, E., Ireland; in LittelVs Living Age, April, 1847. 
Campbell, C. B., Bourbonnais; or the Early French Settlement 

in Kankakee County in Transactions of the Illinois State 

Historical Society (1906). 
dickering, J., Immigration into the United States, (1848). 
Condon, E. 0., The Irish Race in America (1887). 
Copeland, L. A., The Cornish in Southwestern Wisconsin in 

Wis. Hist. Society Collections,- 14. 
Engels, F., The Condition of the Working Class in England in 

1844 (Translated by Florence K. Wischnewetzky, New 

York, 1887). 
Flom, G. T., The Scandinavian Factor in the American Popu- 
lation in Iowa Journal of History and Politics, 3. 
Hale, E. E., Letters on Irish Emigration (1852). 

[306] 



POOLEY SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 593 

Kapp, F., Immigration and the Commissioners of Emigration 
of the State of New York (1870). 

Kopfli, S., and Eggen, J., Die Schweizer-Kolonie Highland in 
Illinois in Deutch-Amerikanische Geschichtsbldtter, April- 
July, 1905. 

Korner, G., Das Deutsche Element in den Vereinigten Staaten 
von Nordamerika 1818-1848 (Cincinnati, 1880). 

Lalor, J. J., The Germans in the West, in the Atlantic Monthly 
Oct., 1873. 

Levi, Mrs. K. E., Geographical Origin of German Immigration to 
Wisconsin, in Wis. Hist. Society Collections, 14. 

Luchsinger, J., The Planting of the Swiss Colony at New Glarus, 
Wisconsin in Wis. Hist. Society Collections, 12. 

Maguire, J. F., The Irish in America (1868). 

McLaughlin, A., The Immigrant, Past and Present, in the Pop- 
ular Science Monthly, July, 1904. 

Nelson, O. N., History of Scandinavia and Successful Scandi- 
navians in the United States (2 vols. 1893). 

Newbauer, Ella F., The Swiss Settlements in Madison County, 
Illinois in Transactions of the Illinois State Historical So- 
ciety (1906). 

Onahan, W. G., Irish Settlements in Illinois in the Catholic 
World, May, 1881. 

Rahr, L. F., German Immigration to the United States i840*- 
1850 (MSS. Thesis, University of Wisconsin 1903). 

Shea, J. G., The Canadian Element in the United States, in the 
American Catholic Quarterly Review, Oct. 1879. 

Smith, C. W., A Contribution towards a Bibliography of Morris 
Birkbeck and the English Settlement in Edwards County, 
Illinois in Transactions of the Illinois Historical Society 
(1905). 

Steinach, A., Schweizer Kolonien (N. Y. 1889). 

Traill, H. D., [Ed.] Social England, 6. (6 vols. 1897.) 

Turner, F. J., German Immigration into the United States in 
the Chicago Becordr-Herald, Sept. 4, 1901. 

Young, E., Special Report on Immigration (1872). 

Young, E., Labor in Europe and America (1875). 

[307] 



594 BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 



XI. Social Settlements 

Amberley, V., The Latter Day Saints in the Fortnightly Re- 
view, Nov., 1869. 

Beadle, J. H., Life in Utah. 

Bennett, J. C, History of the Saints, (1842). 

Berrian, W., Catalogue of Books, Early Newspapers and Pamph- 
lets on Mormonism, (1898). 

Berry, O. F., The Mormon Settlements in Illinois in Transac- 
tions of the Illinois State Historical Society (1906). 

Bigelow, H., The Bishop Hill Colony in the Illinois Historical 
Society Proceedings (1902). 

Brisbane, A., Articles on Fourierism in the New York Tribune 
(1841-1843). 

Caswall, H., The Prophet of the Nineteenth Century (London 
1843). 

Gunnison, J. W., The Mormons or Latter Day Saints in the 
Valley of the Great Salt Lake (1852). 

Gregg, T., The Prophet of Palmyra (1890). 

Haven, Charlotte. A GirVs Letter from Nauvoo in the Overland 
Monthly, 16, 17. 

Hillquit, M., History of Socialism in the United States (1903). 

Hinds, "W. A., American Communities (1902). 

Kennedy, J. H., Early Days of Mormonism, (1888). 

Mikkelson, M. A., The Bishop Hill Colony in the Johns Hop- 
kins University Studies, 10. 

Miller, Mrs. J. G., The Icarian Community of Nauvoo, Illinois 
in Transactions of the Illinois State Historical Society 
(1906). 

Noyes, J. H., History of American Socialism (1870). 

Robinson, Madame E. Fleury, A Social Experiment in The 
Open Court, Aug. 28, Sept. 11, 1890. 

Shaw, A., Icaria, (1884). 

Smith, President Joseph, and Smith, Apostle H. C, History of 
the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, (4 
vols. Lamoni, la., 1902). 



[308 



POOLEY — SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS, 1830-50 595 

Smucker, S. M., The Religious, Social and Political History of 

the Mormons (1858). 
Stenhouse, T. B. H., The Rocky Mountain Saints (1873). 
Charter and By-Laws of the Icarian Community, (1857). 
The Detriments of Civilization and Benefits of Association^ as 

taught by Charles Fourier . . . (1844). 
A. Handbook of Reference to the History, Chronology, Religion 

and Country of the Latter Day Saints . . . (1884). 



[309] 



7Vurv^ry\-^ps 



BULLETIN OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

NO. 2SO 

History Series, Vol. i, No. 4, pp. 287-595. 



THE SETTLEMENT OF ILLINOIS FROM 1830 TO 1850 



WILLIAM VIPOND POOLEY 



A THESIS SUBMITTED FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY 

UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN 

1905 



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